Is the apparent decrease in injury and illness rates in construction the result of changes in reporting?

Int J Occup Environ Health. 2007 Jan-Mar;13(1):39-45. doi: 10.1179/107735207800244965.


Injury rates in all industries and in construction in particular have been declining. Inconsistencies in the information suggest some of the apparent decrease may be due to changes in the ways injuries are treated, misclassification of employees, or underreporting. Lost-time injury rates for the largest construction employers declined by as much as 92% between 1988 and 1999. Yet the rate for cases with restricted work activity actually increased from 0.7 to 1.2 per 100 full-time workers between 1990 and 2000, and fatalities among construction workers remain high. In Massachusetts, at least 14% of construction employers misclassified workers as independent contractors, with the effect that injuries to these workers are not recordable. Studies that compare OSHA logs with other data sources find that the OSHA logs do not include a significant proportion of injuries and illnesses identified elsewhere.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Facility Design and Construction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration