The effectiveness of interventions for preventing injuries in the construction industry: a systematic review

Am J Prev Med. 2008 Jul;35(1):77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.03.030. Epub 2008 May 14.


Background: Occupational injury rates among construction workers are the highest among the major industries. A number of injury-prevention interventions have been proposed, yet the effectiveness of these is uncertain. Thus a systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for preventing occupational injuries among construction workers was conducted.

Methods: Seven databases were searched, from the earliest available dates through June 2006, for published findings of injury prevention in construction studies. Acceptable study designs included RCTs; controlled before-after studies; and interrupted time series (ITS). Effect sizes of similar interventions were pooled into a meta-analysis in January 2007.

Results: Of 7522 titles found, four ITS studies and one controlled ITS study met the inclusion criteria. The overall methodologic quality was low. No indications of publication bias were found. Findings from a safety-campaign study and a drug-free-workplace study indicated that both interventions significantly reduced the level and the trend of injuries. Three studies that evaluated legislation did not decrease the level (ES 0.69; 95% CI=-1.70, 3.09) and made the downward trend (ES 0.28; 95% CI=0.05, 0.51) of injuries less favorable.

Conclusions: Limited evidence was found for the effectiveness of a multifaceted safety campaign and a multifaceted drug program, but no evidence was found that legislation is effective to prevent nonfatal or fatal injuries in the construction industry.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Construction Materials
  • Humans
  • Research Design