Analysis of text from injury reports improves understanding of construction falls

J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Nov;46(11):1166-73. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000141769.48553.1b.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aircraft
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Workers' Compensation / economics