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Estimated costs of injuries caused by falling through roof openings, surfaces and skylights.

Bobick TG; Keane PR; Biddle EA; Spahr JS
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :32-33
Fall-related occupational injuries are serious problems in the U.S. construction industry. An important sub-set of the fall-to-lower-level category involves workers falling through existing roof or floor openings, or through roof or floor surfaces, including skylights. These fall-through injuries are among the most severe cases for median number of days away from work (DAFW). Data analyses were conducted for 1992-2000 using the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (the Annual Survey), maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This survey is an estimate of values from a sample of approximately 200,000 private establishments. To obtain an estimate of costs related to fall-through incidents, the Liberty Mutual "Workplace Safety Index" was used. The Safety Index used their own claims information, along with data from BLS and the National Academy of Social Insurance to determine the total in wage and medical payments paid in 1998. During 1992-2000, 21,985 serious injuries occurred from fall through incidents. For 1992-2000, the median DAFW were 35, 25, and 36 for cases involving falls through roof openings, roof surfaces, and skylights, respectively, as compared to 10 DAFW for all types of fall-to-lower-level cases. The Safety Index indicated that the direct costs associated with the 2,069 DAFW fall-through incidents that occurred in 1998 averaged $37,817. The total cost of a serious injury is the summation of direct and indirect costs. Generally, indirect costs are assumed to be two to five times the magnitude of direct costs. For this analysis, however, a very conservative estimate is used that assumes direct and indirect costs are of equal magnitude. Thus, the total cost of a 1998 fall-through incident averaged $75,634. These cost estimates provide employers with the basis to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses for potential workplace interventions, such as guardrail systems or protective skylight screens.
Roofing-industry; Roofers; Roofing-and-sheet-metal-work; Occupational-hazards; Injuries; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Traumatic-injuries
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NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division