An analysis of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the US construction injury in the 1980s was presented. Information on nonfatal traumatic injuries occurring in the construction industry from 1981 through 1986 was retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Supplementary Data System. Data on work related fatal injuries occurring in the industry for the period 1980 through 1989 were taken from the NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System. The details of each fatal and nonfatal injury were reviewed. The overall rate of nonfatal injuries in the construction injury was 10.1 per 100 fulltime workers, which was much higher than the average rate for all industries, 4.3/100. When analyzed by year, the nonfatal injury rate decreased from a high of 10.6/100 in 1981 to 7.1/100 in 1986. Altogether, 98% of the injuries involved males and 59% occurred to workers under the age of 35. The three major types of injury were: sprains and strains, 34%; cuts, lacerations, or punctures, 17%; and fractures, 11%. The hands were the body part most frequently injured, accounting for 19.7% of the injuries. The four major sources of injury were: metal items, 18%; working surfaces, 16%; nonpowered hand tools, 7%; and wood items, 6%. The three leading causes of injury were overexertion, 24%; being struck by an object, 22%; and falling from heights, 13%. The overall fatality rate in the construction industry was 25.6 per 100,000 full time workers, which was substantially higher than the rate for all industries 7.0/100,000. The fatality rate decreased from a high of 28.9/100,000 in 1980 to a low of 21.7/100,000 in 1989. Males sustained 99% of the fatal injuries. Males 65 years or older had the highest fatality rate. The three major causes of fatal injury were: falls, 25%; electrocutions, 15%; and motor vehicle related incidents, 14%. The authors conclude that there is a need to focus additional safety research and injury prevention programs on the construction injury.
Suzanne M. Kisner, BS, Statistician, Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch, Division of Safety Research, ALOSH, NIOSH, CDC, 944 Chestnut Ridge Road, Morgantown, WV, 26505-2888