NIOSH Construction Compendium

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Summary Statement

One-page summaries of over 100 NIOSH-supported construction safety and health research projects in 2002.



AFFILIATION: CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training (301) 578-8500

PURPOSE: Reduce the high toll in injuries, illnesses, and deaths in construction by making top-quality information on safety and health easily accessible to workers and others.

RESEARCH SUMMARY: eLCOSH is a user-friendly, searchable Website ( containing more than 500 documents on construction safety and health. More than 30 of the postings are in Spanish (along with a Spanish site map), and some documents are provided in other languages, such as Creole, Italian, and Polish. The intended audience is anyone interested in improving construction safety and health in the construction industry, including researchers, but a key goal is to provide workers with information about how to protect themselves. Contributors include federal and state agencies, newspapers, trade magazines, university researchers, and labor unions. The collection includes pocket cards and brochures for workers, Power Point presentations, checklists, statistics, and information on regulations in the United States and elsewhere. Some of the documents are not available anywhere else.

A few one-page postings written by the staff of CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training provide basic information that is often hard to pin down, such as "When do you need fall protection?" The site is organized by hazard, trade, (type of) job site, and other, with a separate section on training and more than 40 annotated links to other sites on construction safety and health. eLCOSH is updated quarterly and provides a What's New section. A 7-minute CD-ROM presentation (in English) provides a tour of the site and is available upon request. The site was first posted in August 2000. As of September 2001, eLCOSH had 12,500 visits per month and 57,500 hits.

KEYWORDS: eLCOSH, database, training, hazards, trades, prevention, workers, Web, Internet, safety, health


Seegal, J., and S. Benjamin. 2002. A Web-based resource for construction safety and health. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, v. 17, no. 4, pp. 244-46.

DATA CENTER AT CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training

Sue Dong

CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training (301) 578-8500

PURPOSE: Monitor the health and safety of workers in the construction industry, provide ongoing measures to assess the effectiveness of interventions, and provide detailed data on the health and safety of workers in each construction trade quickly so they can be used to answer questions raised by people in the construction industry, by researchers, and by the general public.

RESEARCH SUMMARY: The data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (both put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) are used to follow trends in the health and safety of workers. CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training (CWPR) has obtained CFOI data on all work-related fatal injuries annually from BLS since 1992 and is completing an analysis that looks at trends in death rates from 1992 through 2000. These data indicate that death rates in the construction industry have remained roughly unchanged at around 14 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. In those occupations with consistently high death rates—laborers, roofers, ironworkers, and electrical workers—the accident narratives have provided useful clues to aid in the development of targeted interventions.

Since 1992, CPWR has been charting trends in nonfatal injury rates in the construction industry using the annual survey data. Although these data show a downward trend in nonfatal injury rates, questions remain regarding the validity of the trend. About 20%-25% of the workers in the construction trades are self-employed and therefore are excluded from the survey; in addition, the survey includes only the private sector. Others factors that may lead to underreporting of injuries are that (1) many occupational diseases have long latency periods and often go untracked and (2) injuries among temporary workers at work sites are usually reported to staffing agencies that are not considered part of the construction industry. These and other reasons lead us to believe that the number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in construction are significantly underreported. Discussions are being held with OSHA to study ways to improve record-keeping systems for OSHA's 300 logs that form the basis of the survey.

A third project at the Data Center aims to assess the effects of training interventions on work-related injuries among construction laborers in Washington State. We have been able to link data on workers' compensation claims and safety training received by some 600 members of the Northwest Laborers' Health and Welfare Fund during 1993-1994. Although we are in the initial stages, we hope this study will provide evidence that safety and health training can be an effective intervention.

KEYWORDS: Data analysis, injury, illness, fatalities, rates, trends, training


Pollack, E.S., and R.T. Chowdhury. 2001. Trends in work-related death and injury rates among U.S. construction workers, 1992-1998. Silver Spring, MD: CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training.


The figure is a reduced view of the Website screen.

The figure is a reduced view of the Website screen.

RESEARCHERS: Mark Carrozza and Ronald Freyberg

AFFILIATION: University of Cincinnati Medical Center (513) 556-5077

CONSORTIUM: Construction Safety Alliance

PURPOSE: Develop a scalable database to warehouse data on occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the construction industry collected from disparate sources.

RESEARCH SUMMARY: Data on occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the construction industry currently exists in many national, regional, and state data systems. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annually reports on the number of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities; state information on fatal accidents is available through NIOSH's Fatal Accident and Circumstance Epidemiology (FACE) system; and the National Center for Health Statistics' (NCHS) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) produces accident and injury data based on its annual nationwide survey. More-detailed safety and health data are collected at the individual worker level and are maintained by labor unions, individual construction companies, and trade associations.

A single, scalable database was designed and developed that is capable of housing this information from both a summary level (for example, BLS and FACE data) and at the worker level. The database was developed using Microsoft SQL Server, version 7.0, and can grow efficiently and economically as new data are collected.

A limited Web-based application was also developed that allows access to the data over the Internet. The custom application, developed using the Internet "middleware" software ColdFusion, takes the user's selection criteria and builds a query using standard structured query language (SQL) statements. SQL is then used to query the underlying SQL database and returns the results to the user's Web browser. The combination of Microsoft SQL Server and ColdFusion produces a highly scalable and reliable application that allows users to access and summarize quickly the comprehensive information maintained in the database.

This database will provide a single, comprehensive means of access to data that describe the health and safety status of the construction industry. Longitudinal data will allow investigations of possible trends over time for selected safety and health outcomes. Individual worker characteristics can be linked to health and safety outcomes. The data could also be used to generate hypotheses for epidemiology studies or, ultimately, to suggest strategies aimed at reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the construction industry.

Database, construction safety, Website


The figure is a reduced view of the Website screen.
The figure is a reduced view of the Website screen.

RESEARCHER: Daniel Halpin

AFFILIATION: Construction Safety Alliance Purdue University (765) 494-2244

PURPOSE: Provide other construction stakeholders, including small-to-medium-sized construction company managers, health departments, safety professionals, and workers, with practical, up-to-date safety and health information.

RESEARCH SUMMARY: The Website contains pertinent summaries of research from partners in the Construction Safety Alliance (CSA) and safety education and training material relating to the focus areas of CSA's research projects. The Website serves as a clearinghouse for construction safety and health education and information resources. It also provides links to other relevant Websites, such as those maintained by NIOSH, OSHA, the Construction Industry Institute, CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training, the Construction Safety Association of Ontario, and the Principal Contractors Safety Alliance. The Website is designed to be user friendly and easily understandable to both safety professionals and construction workers.

The Website also allows users to query the data and download extracts for additional analysis. The data are accessible at two levels.
  • The first level includes only CSA access for sharing data and information resources associated with ongoing research and surveillance projects. This access is password-protected for CSA members and their designated collaborators.
  • The second level is for general use for accessing all information, published data, and resources as CSA makes it available. This level requires no password and will be advertised in trade journals and other construction-related publications.
The Website is currently being tested by construction safety professionals and at this stage primarily serves as a communication portal for CSA members. The prototype Website can be accessed through the link ( More information will be added as research projects within CSA are developed.

KEYWORDS: Website, construction safety, database, safety education, safety training

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