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Injuries and fatalities in the construction industry cost residents of the US state of Maryland $712.8 million (£456m) between 2008 and 2010, a study has found.
‘The price of inaction’, a report from the thinktank Public Citizen, found Maryland recorded 18,600 construction industry accidents in the years investigated, of which 11,000 required days away from work or job transfer. Additionally, 55 construction-related fatalities were reported. Public Citizen said it used a ‘conservative methodology’ to calculate direct costs, indirect costs and quality of life costs. It concluded that combined, the incidents cost the state’s economy $712.8 million during the three-year period.
“The economic picture we came up with is quite staggering,” said Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “We now know that construction accidents impose huge economic costs in addition to tremendous pain.”
A solution proposed in the report is to award public construction contracts only to companies that have strong safety records, Public Citizen said. Implementing a prequalification process for public construction projects would not address all of the industry’s safety problems, Wrightson said. However, it said a positive step could yield significant gains to the economy for minimal costs.
Public Citizen news release. The price of inaction: A comprehensive look at the costs of injuries and fatalities in Maryland’s construction industry, Public Citizen, August 2012.