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Twenty years of workers' compensation costs due to falls from height among union carpenters, Washington State.
Lipscomb HJ; Schoenfisch AL; Cameron W; Kucera KL; Adams D; Silverstein BA
Am J Ind Med 2014 Sep; 57(9):984-991
Background: Falls from height (FFH) are a longstanding, serious problem in construction. Methods: We report workers compensation (WC) payments associated with FFH among a cohort (n¼24,830; 1989-2008) of carpenters. Mean/median payments, cost rates, and adjusted rate ratios based on hours worked were calculated using negative-binomial regression. Results: Over the 20-year period FFH accounted for $66.6 million in WC payments or $700 per year for each fulltime equivalent (2,000 hr of work). FFH were responsible for 5.5% of injuries but 15.1% of costs. Cost declines were observed, but not monotonically. Reductions were more pronounced for indemnity than medical care. Mean costs were 2.3 times greater among carpenters over 50 than those under 30; cost rates were only modestly higher. Conclusions: Significant progress has been made in reducing WC payments associated with FFH in this cohort particularly through 1996; primary gains reflect reduction in frequency of falls. FFH that occur remain costly.
Construction; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Fall-protection; Height-factors; Injuries; Statistical-analysis; Age-groups; Author Keywords: falls from height; occupational injury; costs; construction work; carpenters; cohort study; workers' compensation payments
Hester J. Lipscomb, PhD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3834 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
Cooperative Agreement; Grant
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-009761; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008433; M042014
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
NC; WA; VA
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Page last reviewed: January 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division