Online Program

Investigating fatal fall injuries among US construction workers using the new BLS coding system

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Xuanwen Wang, PhD, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, Data Center, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Julie Largay, MPH, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Background and Objective: Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in construction. Despite the significance, detailed data (e.g., the distance fallen), were not available in the past. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has substantially revised the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS). This study examines fatal fall injuries in construction using the updated OIICS.

Methods: Data from two large national datasets were analyzed, including the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Current Employment Statistics. Stratified analyses were conducted to identify differences among subgroups in construction.

Results: Preliminary data show that “Falls, Slips, and Trips” caused one-third of construction fatalities in 2011. About 40% of these fatal falls occurred in the Foundation Structure sector, of which 57 deaths were among roofing contractors. The Foundation Structure sector also had a higher rate of fatal falls than other construction subsectors. In terms of height, one-third of the fatal falls were from 15 feet or less, and 6% were from less than six feet. Compared to nonresidential construction, residential construction had a higher rate of fatal falls and a larger proportion of falls from 15 feet or less. By occupation, 73% of fall decedents in construction were laborers, roofers, foremen, or carpenters. More information and updated numbers will be provided in the presentation.

Conclusion: The updated OIICS measures fall injuries in more detail. The findings suggest that fall protections and regulations should be applied to both residential and nonresidential construction, and be available to all workers exposed to fall hazards.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Assess the effects of the revised BLS Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS version 2.01) on safety and health surveillance

Keyword(s): Construction Injuries, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The presenter has conducted research on occupational safety and health for nearly 20 years, and is the PI of this NIOSH-funded project.
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.