The thing about working on top of a building is that most people don't want to. Anyone afraid of heights or the law of gravity prefers to stay close to the ground. Roofers and many construction workers don't have that option.
Not surprisingly, many of them die from falls. Thirty-four percent of the 816 construction workers who died on the job in 2009 were victims of a fall [source: OSHA]. Others were electrocuted, killed by falling objects, caught in collapsing materials or fatally injured in a transportation accident to or from a job.
"Construction worker" is more of a catch-all term than a job description; fatality rates differ between public and private construction sectors, for example, or roofers and roadway construction workers.
When it comes to highway construction, the biggest danger to workers isn't other cars -- it's the construction vehicles themselves, especially dump trucks. Runovers and backovers are the No. 1 cause of deaths for those in work zones [source: Federal Highway Administration].
Depending on the job, a worker can also encounter cranes, chemicals, fork lifts, industrial wiring, transmission lines and a whole lot of ladders. Once you factor in human error and lax safety standards, it's not a pretty picture.