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Prioritizing prevention opportunities in the Washington State construction industry, 2003-2007.

Schoonover T; Bonauto D; Silverstein B; Adams D; Clark R
J Saf Res 2010 Jun; 41(3):197-202
Objective: This study compares construction industry groups in Washington State by injury severity and cost, and ranks industry groups according to potential for prevention. Methods: All Washington State workers' compensation compensable claims with date of injury between 2003 and 2007 were classified into North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) industry groups. Claims were then aggregated by injury type and industry groups were ranked according to a prevention index (PI). The PI is the average of the rank orders of the claim count and the claim incidence rate. A lower PI indicates a higher need for prevention activities. The severity rate was calculated as the number of days of time loss per 10,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Results: For all injury types, construction industry groups occupy 7 of the top 15 PI ranks in Washington State. The severity rate among construction industry groups was twice that for non-construction groups for all injury types. Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors (NAICS 2381) ranked highest in prevention potential and severity among construction industry groups for most common injury types including falls from elevation, fall on same level, struck by/against, and musculo-skeletal disorders of the neck, back, and upper extremity (WMSDs). Median claim costs by injury type were generally higher among construction industry groups. Conclusions: The construction industry in Washington State has a high severity rate and potential for prevention. The methods used for characterizing these industry groups can be adapted for comparison within and between other industries and states. Impact on Industry: These data can be used by industry groups and employers to identify higher cost and higher severity injury types. Knowledge about the relative frequencies and costs associated with different injury types will help employers and construction industry associations make better informed decisions about where prevention efforts are most needed and may have the greatest impact. The results of this study can also be used by industry stakeholders to cooperatively focus on high cost and high severity injuries and explore best practices, interventions, and solutions as demonstrated by efforts to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in masonry (Entzel, Albers, & Welch, 2007). Initiating construction industry groups to focus on high cost and high severity injuries may also help prevent other types of injuries.
Construction-industry; Construction; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Preventive-medicine; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Extremities; Author Keywords: Construction industry; Workers' compensation; Injury prevention; Claims cost; Severity
Todd Schoonover, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, PO Box 44330, Olympia, WA 98501
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Safety Research
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 24, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division