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 (nž24,830; 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
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University