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Moving beyond surveillance: lessons learned from NIOSH construction safety projects.

Fosbroke D
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; :13
The concept that construction is dangerous work is not novel, nor is the fact that working at heights, around electricity, in trenches, and around heavy machinery has killed thousands of construction workers. Research increasingly focuses on improving conditions in the construction industry, yet recent surveillance data suggest little headway in preventing construction worker injuries. Why this lack of progress? One reason is that the construction industry's injury issues are complex sets of different problems-- sometimes related and sometimes not. No single at-risk-group accounts for a significant proportion of the 1000 construction workers killed annually. To reduce the toll in construction, research must target specific safety hazards among specific at-risk groups, typically representing 10 to 40 deaths per year. Another reason is that construction research tends to be descriptive and parochial in nature. If research is to impact the level of construction fatalities, researchers need to move beyond "discovering" that roofers fall off of roofs and begin conducting research that covers the spectrum of the public health model-- not just injury hazard identification. The NIOSH Division of Safety Research began the NORA Traumatic Injury Research Program with the expressed goal of selecting research projects that advance the science of injury prevention along the public health model continuum. Program results are pending, but much has been learned about focusing injury research to bring it closer to prevention. By developing knowledge about tasks, materials, and processes; by moving research into the workplace; and by working with construction industry partners, researchers can focus research so that results are relevant to real world conditions. Simultaneously, researchers learn about channels of distribution, change agents, and spin-off applications, thus, greatly enhancing ability to move positive results out of the laboratory (and peer-review article) and into use on the construction site.
Construction-industry; Safety-practices; Construction-workers; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Work-environment; Occupational-hazards; Traumatic-injuries; Hazards; Construction
Publication Date
Document Type
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
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