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Contractor safety practices and injury rates in construction of the Denver International Airport.

Glazner JE; Borgerding J; Bondy J; Lowery JT; Lezotte DC; Kreiss K
Am J Ind Med 1999 Feb; 35(2):175-185
We sought to explain the variation in injury rates found for categories of companies and contracts involved in the construction of the Denver International Airport (DIA) by surveying contractors about company and Contract-level safety practices. We conducted 213 telephone interviews (83% response) with representatives of contracts with payrolls of more than $250,000. We investigated the bivariate relationship between safety actions reported in the survey and injury occurrence by calculating the aggregate injury rates (lost work-time (LWT) rates and non-LWT rates) for the group of respondent contracts reporting always taking the action and for the group not always taking the action. Using Poisson regression, we examined the association between contract injury rates and contract safety practices while controlling for variables previously shown to affect contract-level injury rates. In Poisson regression, two actions, 1) disciplinary action always resulting when safety rules were violated and 2) always considering experience modification ratings whenselecting subcontractors, were associated with lower LWT injury rates. Three actions or contract characteristics resulted in lower non-LWT rates: management always establishing goals for safety for supervisors, conducting drug testing at times other than badging or after an accident, and completing the DIA contract on budget, rather than over budget. Reportedly consistent use of a number of accepted safety practices was associated with significantly higher injury rates in bivariate and multivariate analyses. The pattern of counter intuitive results found in this study suggests that questions reflecting agreed-upon safety practices, when asked of the person responsible for all on-site construction activities, are likely to elicit normative responses. Objective validation of reported safety practices is critical to evaluating their efficacy in reducing injury rates, along with measures of both time at risk and outcome and control for prevailing risk of the work performed.
Work environment; Construction industry; Statistical analysis; Safety programs; Safety practices; Injury prevention; Author Keywords: occupational injury; construction injury; safety surveys; workers' compensation; company safety practices
Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Box C-245, UCHSC, 4200 E. Ninth Ave., Denver, CO 80262
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
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Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division