Injury severity associated with nonfatal construction falls

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Dec;32(6):647-55. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199712)32:6<647::aid-ajim11>;2-1.


This study evaluated injury severity in a group of construction workers who sustained nonfatal falls at work. The sample consisted of 255 adults who were identified from Doctor's First Reports (DFRs) submitted to the California Department of Industrial Relations. For those that fell from heights (n = 195), the mean height of fall was 9.2 feet (SD = 7.1). The mean number of lost work days was 44.3 days (SD = 58.6) and the median was 10 days. Two measures of injury severity were used--the Injury Severity Score and the disability section of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). Seventeen participants (7%; 95% CI, 4-10%) were deemed permanently disabled. A simultaneous multiple regression model, using five independent variables, explained approximately 21% of the variance in HAQ scores. Nonunion status and safety climate scores indicating increased risk were positively correlated with higher functional limitation as measured by HAQ scores, as were greater heights and impact on concrete surface. Higher scores on both injury severity measures were significantly and moderately associated with a greater number of days lost from work. These findings suggest that injury severity and permanent disability associated with falls in construction are notable, and identify key target areas for intervention and prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Accidents, Occupational*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis