Injury underreporting among small establishments in the construction industry

Am J Ind Med. 2011 May;54(5):339-49. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20928. Epub 2011 Jan 18.


Background: There is convincing evidence that occupational injury and illness rates, particularly those reported by employers in the BLS' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), substantially underestimate the true magnitude of injury and illness in the construction industry.

Methods: Fifteen years of data from five large nationally representative data sources were analyzed, including SOII, CFOI, CBP, CPS, and MEPS. Regression trends and ratio analyses were conducted, and stratified by establishment size and Hispanic ethnicity.

Results: Small construction establishments were most likely to underreport injuries. The SOII data only captured 25% of severe injuries among Hispanic workers, and 60% among white workers in small construction establishments.

Conclusions: Underreporting is pervasive in the construction industry for small establishments and Hispanic workers. Given that small establishments are predominant in the U.S. construction industry, they should be the focus of a larger effort to identify the true extent of construction-related injuries.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Construction Materials*
  • Data Collection
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Health
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*