Non-fatal contact injuries among workers in the construction industry treated in U.S. emergency departments, 1998-2005

J Safety Res. 2010 Jun;41(3):191-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 May 12.


Problem: The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for the construction industry calls for efforts to identify areas where guidance and regulation are needed to adequately prevent traumatic injuries resulting from a worker coming into contact with objects or equipment.

Method: This descriptive study of work-related contact injuries in the construction industry that were treated in emergency departments (EDs) between 1998 and 2005 utilized records of work injuries captured through a national probability-based sample of U.S. hospitals with 24-hour ED services.

Results: Contact injuries accounted for 54% of all construction ED-treated injuries. Hospitalizations were most common for injuries from contact with discharged nails from pneumatic nail guns, with hand held power saws, and fixed saws. Some injuries were proportionally more serious and sometimes involved multiple workers including trenching injuries and those resulting from collapse of buildings under construction, walls, roofs, and scaffolding. DISCUSSION AND IMPACT: Given that nail gun use is limited primarily to wood frame construction, efforts are needed to control frequent serious injuries associated with these tools. Enforcement of existing trenching regulations is also needed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Friction
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult