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Cost of fall-related fatal occupational injuries in construction, 2003-2006.

Biddle EA; Bobick TG; McKenzie EA Jr.
Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-103, 2011 Nov; :216-219
Falls are not only the leading cause of death within the construction industry, but they exact the highest toll on the U.S. society. These fatalities represent a $1.6 billion loss to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the measure of the country's overall economic output. While the number of fatalities has been the traditional measure used to direct public policy over the years, the cost of fatal injuries can also be used for this purpose. The total costs identified in this work suggest that Fall from roof, and more specifically Fall from roof edge,should be the focus of attention. However, Falls do not have the highest mean or median cost of fatal injury in construction but rather have the lowest. Examination of the costs at more detailed levels of event or exposure and the industry revealed similar variability in ranking based on measures of magnitude versus measures of cost. These cost estimates can be used to identify additional prevention efforts needed and the amount of savings from adopting interventions. For example, a guardrail system developed by NIOSH to prevent falls from unguarded surfaces, such as roofs,would provide benefits that far exceed the costs. A typical sloped roof consists of two roof surfaces, one in front and one in back. A roof surface of 50 ft x 16 ft would require a guardrail system costing about $1400 for each side, compared to the cost per fatalities of just over $1 million. Different, lower-cost, system configurations can be used to protect other unguarded edges. Finally, costs can help plan, augment, and prioritize occupational injury prevention and control efforts, evaluate safety and health interventions, and advocate for a safer work environment. Additional costs using this model could be generated to accomplish this goal.
Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Accident-statistics; Biohazards; Biomechanical-engineering; Biomechanics; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Health-protection; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Mathematical-models; Mortality-rates; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Psychological-responses; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-climate; Safety-education; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Statistical-analysis; Surface-properties; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Work-analysis; Workplace-studies; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
Source Name
Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division