NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Back disorders among union carpenters.

Lipscomb HJ; Dement JM; Silverstein B; Kucera KL; Cameron W
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R01-OH-008007, 2009 Mar; :1-130
We conducted a study of back disorders among a well-defined cohort of construction carpenters. By combining sources of administrative data we had a unique picture of medical care for a large cohort of union carpenters through their workers' compensation and private health insurance coverage for a 15-year time period (1989-1998). Data for these analyses came from the Carpenters Trusts of Western Washington that allowed us to enumerate a cohort of union carpenters who had worked in Washington. The trust also provided us with the health care claims data for these individuals including the actual line items submitted for payment, charges, and associated ICD-9 codes submitted by the care providers. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provided records of work-related injuries for the cohort. Because Washington has a state run worker's compensation program we were also able to secure the line items for medical care for the associated claims as well including the provider-assigned ICD-9 codes. A number of outcomes were explored including risk of acute work-related back injury, work-related back injury from overexertion type activities, incident and recurrent work-related back injuries, and delayed return to work following injury. We also evaluated costs associated with work-related back injuries over time as well as health care utilization and associated costs covered through the workers' union provided health insurance coverage. With the exception of our analyses of delayed return to work, the analyses used a cohort approach. For analyses of work-related injuries and costs, time at risk was person hours of work as a union carpenter. For analyses of health care utilization and costs, time at risk was months of insurance eligibility. All cohort analyses were limited to 18,768 carpenters who worked at least 3 months of union hours in this 15-year period, had a month of union health insurance coverage, and worked at least a month after meeting the entry criteria. To evaluate risk factors for delayed return to work, a case-control analysis was conducted comparing odds of injured carpenters who returned to work within a month and those whose return was delayed at least 3 months. The latter requirement for the cohort analyses was not required for these analyses allowing 20,642 carpenters for study.
Back-injuries; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Injuries; Medical-monitoring; Medical-research; Medical-services; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Injury-prevention; Occupational-safety-programs; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Work-areas; Worker-health; Workers; Work-operations; Workplace-studies; Work-practices
Hester J. Lipscomb, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Community and Family Medicine, P.O. Box 3834, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Duke University
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division