NOIRS 1997 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 1997. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997 Oct; :20
In the fall of 1996 the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Health and Safety Fund (UBCHSF), working with researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, was awarded a three year grant from NIOSH in injury prevention among union carpenter contractors in New England. The aim of this project is to demonstrate that injuries to carpenters can be measurably reduced by the implementation of written health and safety programs by small construction contractors. The methodology is a controlled prospective-prospective trial among small firms employing unionized carpenters. Twenty-two small-to-medium sized carpenter contractors (with average annual employment approximating 10 to 50 carpenters) in the Boston, MA, Hartford, CT and Providence, RI areas were recruited into the treatment group. The control group consists of 50 similar (in size and types of work) contractors in upstate New York. The geographical separation should minimize contamination. The treatment group will implement, with UBCHSF help, a written health and safety program. Using OSHA-required injury logs and workers' compensation data, this project seeks to demonstrate how the implementation of written health and safety programs by such contractors can lead to a measurable reduction in the rate of occupational injuries. Implementing this intervention over a two-year period is expected to result in a reduction in OSHA-recordable injuries, lost workday injuries, and days lost from work due to injuries, and in reduced workers' compensation experience modification rates. This project will also seek to demonstrate that the implementation of health and safety programs will result in measurable changes in workplace safety and health practices by participating contractors. Four "sentinel" safety and health practices are being measured through direct observation in actual workplaces: use of eye protection, use of ground fault circuit interrupters, use of hearing protection, and fall protection. Contractor and worker interviews are being used to gather information about the implementation of the intervention, and particularly about the perceptions of these two groups regarding the degree of acceptance of the intervention. The control group will be given an initial workplace visit with occupational safety and health advice (comparable to the baseline visit for the treatment group) and the promise of help in installing health and safety programs in their companies at the end of the two year period. Periodic measures of the sentinel practices will occur for both the control and treatment groups throughout the period, and the OSHA logs and experience modification rates collected before and after the period. Baseline information about workers' compensation experience modification rates, OSHA recordable injury rates, and occupational safety and health practices as represented by observation of the four "sentinel" practices will be presented for both the treatment and control groups. The next steps of the project will be outlined.