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Am J Ind Med. 2010 Jun;53(6):581-7. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20839.

Nonfatal tool- or equipment-related injuries treated in US emergency departments among workers in the construction industry, 1998-2005.

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Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.



Individuals in the construction industry are exposed to a variety of tools and pieces of equipment as they work.


Data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) occupational supplement to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS-Work) were used to characterize tool- and equipment-related injuries among workers in the construction industry that were treated in US emergency departments between 1998 and 2005. Based on a national stratified probability sample of US hospitals with 24 hr emergency services, NEISS-Work allows calculation of national injury estimates.


Over the 8-year period between 1998 and 2005, we estimated 786,900 (95% CI 546,600-1,027,200) ED-treated tool- or equipment-related injuries identified by the primary or secondary source of injury code. These injuries accounted for a quarter of all ED-treated construction industry injuries. Although over 100 different tools or pieces of equipment were responsible for these injuries, seven were responsible for over 65% of the injury burden: ladders, nail guns, power saws, hammers, knives, power drills, and welding tools in decreasing order.


Current injury estimates and their severity, marked by the proportion of cases that were not released after ED treatment, indicate interventions are particularly needed to prevent injuries associated with use of ladders as well as nail guns and power saws. Attention should focus on design and guarding to more efficiently prevent these injuries rather than simply calling for the training of workers in how to safely use a dangerous tool or piece of equipment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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