For Immediate Release
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Construction workers experience significant lifetime risk of occupational injury, premature death

Washington, D.C. – Nearly all construction workers will experience one or more work-related injuries or illnesses over a lifetime plus a greater risk of premature death, according to new data released today at the American Public Health Association’s 139th Annual Meeting.


Using multiple years of data from several national sources, including the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, researchers from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training estimate that over a 45-year career a construction worker has a 75 percent likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury. Additionally, over the course of a career, the same worker has a one in 200 chance of being fatally injured on the job. A Hispanic construction worker has a 20 percent higher likelihood of dying from a work-related injury.


The study also reveals that an individual who begins construction work at the age of 20 has a 15 percent chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over a lifetime and an 11 percent chance of developing dust-related parenchymal chest X-ray changes.


While great strides have been made in reducing construction injuries and illnesses, the numbers are still stubbornly high,” said Pete Stafford, executive director of CPWR. “Workers and their families suffer the consequences of disabling injuries, and this research shows it’s far too common. So we must continue to raise awareness of the problems – and hope to see our research findings put to use to reduce construction fatalities, injuries and illnesses.”


Researchers note that using cross-sectional data, the traditional method of presenting occupational safety and health, tends to underestimate risk. Presenting risk based over a lifetime presents a more accurate estimate.


Session 3256: Lifetime risk of occupational injuries and illnesses among construction workers

Date: Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM
Researcher: Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, Laura Welch, MD, John Dement, PhD, CIH, and Knut Ringen, DrPH


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