241800 Fatal Falls in Older Construction Workers

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH , CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Christina Nuņez Daw, PHD , CPWR, Silver Spring, MD
Xuanwen Wang, PHD , CPWR, Silver Spring
Background and Objective: Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in the U.S. construction industry. Given the increasingly aging construction workforce, it is important to assess the risk of falls among older construction workers. This study examines trends in US construction industry fall fatalities and assesses factors associated with older vs. younger decedents. Methods: Using Census of Fatal Occupational Injury (CFOI) and Current Population Survey (CPS) data, we reviewed fatal fall trends in 1992-2008. CFOI data from 2003-2008 were also pooled for detailed analysis. Age-stratified analyses examined fatal falls by occupation and fall type. Multivariate logistic regression, using the proportionate mortality approach, assessed the relationship between age and fall fatalities. Results: Older construction workers (age >=55) had higher rates of fatal falls than younger workers, significant in 11 of 14 occupations. Proportionate mortality analysis indicated that older decedents had significantly higher likelihood that work-related death was caused by a fall, after controlling for major demographic and employment factors (OR=1.50, CI: 1.30-1.72). Other major factors included worksite location, establishment size, self-employment, and ethnicity. Falls from roofs accounted for nearly one-third of construction fatal falls overall, while ladder falls caused a larger proportion of deadly falls in the older decedents than in younger decedents. Conclusion: Older construction workers have higher likelihood of dying by a fall. Roofs and ladders are particularly risky sites for older workers. As the construction workforce ages, there is urgent need to focus on older workers in fall prevention efforts, work accommodations, and matching workability to jobs.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Explain disparities in construction industry fatal falls between younger and older workers, and address the importance of safety and health for the increased aging workforce.

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I participate in occupational health and safety research, including analysis of injury surveillance data.
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.