240937 Trends of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the US construction industry during the economic downturn

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH , CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Xuanwen Wang, PHD , CPWR, Silver Spring
Christina Nuņez Daw, PHD , CPWR, Silver Spring, MD
Background and Objective: Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S., suffering disproportionate shares of the nation's work-related fatal and nonfatal injuries. This study examines the injury trends in construction over time, especially during the economic downturn.

Methods: Data from 1992 to 2009 were extracted from three large national datasets: the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, and the Current Population Survey. Stratified and time series analyses were conducted to identify differences among subgroups in construction over time. Linear regression and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were utilized to measure whether changes or differences are statistically significant.

Results: Deaths from injuries in construction increased 34% in 1992-2006, then dropped 31% in 2007- 2009. The fatality rate in construction declined, but was still nearly three times the average of all industries. Rates of nonfatal injuries in construction also significantly declined since 1992 and dropped nearly 20% in 2007-2009 alone. Falls remain the leading cause of death, responsible for about one-third of all construction fatalities in 1992-2009. Ironworkers and electrical power installers were the two riskiest construction occupations in fatalities. Sheetmetal workers had the highest rate of nonfatal injuries. In addition, Hispanic construction workers, older workers, and workers employed in small establishments have a higher risk of fatal injuries.

Conclusion: The construction industry continues to face serious challenges in safety and health despite the injury declining during the economic downturn. Interventions should be enhanced for high-risk occupations and populations.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Our objective is to provide updated information on construction safety and health during the economic downturn.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm qualified to be an abstract author as a coauthor of this study and several other publications in construction safety and health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.