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Construction injury surveillance in Illinois.

Friedman-L; Forst-L
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2009 Mar; :1-25
Construction is one of the most hazardous economic sectors in the U.S. Although the federal government collects data on occupational injuries, there is growing evidence that the Bureau of Labor Statistics substantially under reports injuries and illnesses. There is a need for alternative data sources to help provide a better picture of the pre-event and event factors, as well as the magnitude and trend of injuries in the construction industry. We conducted a study of workers compensation data to determine the magnitude and nature of injuries among construction workers in the State of Illinois. The specific aims were to: 1) establish a dataset of construction injuries that were reported to the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission in 2005 via First Reports of Injury; 2) establish a dataset of construction injuries between 2000-2005 from the IWCC "Claims" database; 3) assess the quality of IWCC datasets; 4) increase knowledge about occupational construction injuries in Illinois. For 2005, we found 4058 First Reports; approximately 40 percent were submitted on paper. We found that many did not need to be filed and there was much missing data. The majority of First Reports were for males between 25 and 54 years of age, with sprains/strains, open wounds and fractures the most common injuries. There were 19,734 Claims between 2000 and 2005. The cumulative cost of Claims was $580,405,416. The cost of compensation for construction injuries represented approximately 4.5 percent of the total payments for workers compensation Claims, whereas construction injuries represented 5.0 percent of all Claims during the same period. The mean cost of a construction Claim was $35,834. In a robust regression model, we found that Claims involving legal counsel retained by the worker cost approximately $1,200 in increased payment to the worker; this is in contrast to other studies that used lost time as a proxy of severity. The system for submitting First Reports needs to be changed in Illinois in order to make it a good source of occupational injury surveillance. Claims data should have SIC (NAICS) codes entered for each case. Construction claims made up 5 percent of total claims, but only 4.5 percent of the total workers compensation payments. More complex regression models for research using workers compensation data are necessary in order to fully exploit the value of workers compensation data for surveillance.
Construction; Construction-workers; Worker-health; Lost-work-days; Disabled-workers; Region-5; Surveillance-programs; Injuries; Statistical-analysis; Qualitative-analysis; Information-processing; Information-retrieval-systems; Information-systems; Quality-control; Statistical-quality-control; Mathematical-models
Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Construction; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
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Identifying No.
Priority Area
Source Name
Construction Injury Surveillance in Illinois
Performing Organization
Center to Protect Workers' Rights