Authors: Vekinis D, Kielkowski D, Wilson K And Rees D.

Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 2010; 16 (1) :10-16


There has been little research on fatalities within the South African construction industry, despite its known risks. Our study uses data from a mutual assurance company to analyse fatalities in the South African construction industry for 2004 – 2006 to report fatality rates and reported cause of these deaths. The annual fatality rates per 100 000 workers calculated for this industrial sector were similar to those reported in other middle-income countries, but much higher than high-income countries (calculated rate: 2004 = 36.34, 2005 = 37.48; 2006 = 30.29). In addition, 43.1% of the 195 deaths were coded as due to motor vehicle accidents, with the majority of these arising from trucks, lorries and dumper accidents. Further research over a greater number of years is needed to establish trends in rates and types of injuries and underlying causes; however, there is a clear need for the implementation and enforcement of comprehensive policies to protect construction workers.