Workers’ compensation claims of union carpenters 1989-1992: Washington state
Despite reports of high injury rates through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), litde epidemiologic literature is available on work- related illness and injury among the construction trades, particularly among carpenters. By combining administrative data sources, the workers’ compensation experience is described for a dynamic cohort of union carpenters in Washington State from 1989 to 1992. The data are compared to published reports from the BLS. From United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners eligibility files a historical cohort of 232 carpenters was identified who had worked at least 3 months of union hours between 1989 and 1992. The union provided the number of hours worked by each carpenter by month, providing person- hours at risk. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) provided all workers’ compensation claims for these carpenters for the same time period. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) codes in the L&I files provided the part of the body involved, the nature of the injury or claim, the type of event causing the claim, and the object or source of the event. A total of 7135 compensation claims were filed by 3754 different individuals. The overall rate of filing claims was 34.8/200,000 person-hours of union work, with rates increasing from 30.4 in 1989 to 39.4 in 1992. Medical cost or lost-time claims occurred at a rate of 29.8. These rates are considerably higher than those reported by the BLS for the construction trades. The highest age-specific rates are seen among the youngest workers, which may reflect inexperience, lack of proper training to avoid risk-taking behavior, and/or job demands. The highest rates (all rates per 200,000 person-hours worked) of claims by body part were seen for back (5.26), finger(s) (4.76), and eye (4.48). Analysis of ANSI codes provides data that are specific enough to be used not only for guiding further etiological research, but for development of preventive measures for certain causes such as eye injuries. © 1996, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lipscomb, HJ; Kalat, J; Dement, JM
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