Objective: We combined payroll data, coded workers' compensation (WC) data, and text descriptions of injuries from the construction of Denver International Airport to create a more comprehensive picture of falls from height (FFH) than is typically available from WC data. Text descriptions were coded to identify circumstances surrounding falls. Slips/trips preceded one third of FFH, often involving motor vehicles or heavy equipment. Another third involved movement or collapse of work surfaces, usually ladders or scaffolds.
Conclusions: The significant contribution of motor vehicles and heavy equipment to FFH, particularly those preceded by slips/trips, was not apparent from coded data. Heavy equipment engineering modifications are called for and workers in street/roadway construction/site development need fall protection training. Text analyses allow exploration of factors not identified at the time of data collection and better understanding of the context in which injuries occur.