Construction Chart Book

Chart Book (6th edition): Glossary



American Community Survey (ACS) – A nationwide survey of households collecting information on demographics, employment, income, residence, and other socioeconomic issues. The large sample size allows for small population group and geographic area estimates.

A-weighted decibels (dBA) – The A-weighting mimics the sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies.

Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) – A standardized measurement determined by a medical test that screens a person’s blood sample for exposure to lead.

Body Mass Index (BMI) – From the National Health Interview Survey: a measure of body weight relative to height. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Healthy weight for adults is defined as a BMI of 18.5 to less than 25; overweight as a BMI greater than or equal to 25; obesity as a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) – A data collection from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that provides detailed information on those who were killed at work in the United States due to a traumatic injury. The program uses diverse data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries.

Civilian labor force – From the Current Population Survey: includes all those who have jobs or are seeking a job, are at least 16 years old, are not serving in the military, and are not institutionalized (such as in penal and mental facilities, homes for the elderly, and prisons).

Class-of-worker – Assigns workers to one of the following categories: wage-and-salary workers, self-employed workers, or unpaid family workers.

Company See corporation.

Complete inspections – From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: a substantially complete inspection of the potentially high hazard areas of the establishment. An inspection may be deemed comprehensive even if, as a result of the exercise of professional judgment, not all potentially hazardous conditions, operations, and practices within those areas are inspected,

Construction managers – Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Construction work done – From the Economic Census: this measure may include new work, additions, alterations, or maintenance and repairs.

Corporation – From the Internal Revenue Service: a business that is legally separate from its owners (which may include individuals or other corporations) and workforce and thus, among other things, forms contracts and is assessed income taxes.

Current dollar value – Dollars are not adjusted for inflation (see Annex).

Current Population Survey (CPS) – A monthly household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPS provides comprehensive information on the employment and unemployment experience of the U.S. population, classified by age, sex, race, and a variety of other characteristics based on interviews with about 60,000 randomly selected households.

Day laborers – Workers hired and paid one day at a time through employment agencies that specialize in short-term contracts for manual labor, or directly hired by contractors and home owners less formally, such as by waiting for work at public street corners, commercial parking lots, etc. Such workers can arrive and be assigned to a job on the spot.

Defined benefit pension plans – A type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified pension payment, lump sum, or combination thereof on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service, and age, rather than depending directly on individual investment returns.

Defined contribution retirement plans – A retirement plan in which the amount is based on employer and employee contributions, plus or minus investment gains or losses on the money in the account. Examples of such plans include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, employee stock ownership plans, and profit-sharing plans.

Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) – From the World Health Organization: refers to the number of years living with a disability, and measures the gap between actual and ideal health in a population.

Dollar value of business done – From the Economic Census: the sum of the value of construction work done (including fuel, labor, materials, and supplies) and other business receipts (such as rental equipment, legal services, finance, and other non-construction activities).

Economic Census – An economic survey on private sector establishments in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce every five years.

Employed – From the Current Population Survey: those who during the reference week 1) did any work for pay or profit or worked 15 hours or more as an unpaid worker in a family enterprise, or 2) had a job but were not working because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management dispute, or because they were taking time off for personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.

Employment Cost Index (ECI) – A quarterly economic series measuring changes in labor costs in the United States. ECI is prepared and published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Establishment – From the Economic Census: a single physical location, where business is conducted and services or industrial operations are performed. A construction establishment is represented by a relatively permanent main or branch office that is either 1) directly responsible for supervising such activities, or 2) the base from which personnel operate to carry out these activities. Construction sites, projects, fields, or lines are not considered to be establishments. Establishments are either with or without payroll (see nonemployer).

Ethnicity – From the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey: it is categorized as 1) Hispanic or Latino, and 2) Not Hispanic or Latino. The federal government considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate and distinct concepts. Hispanics and Latinos may be of any race.

Event or exposure – From the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System: signifies the manner in which the injury or illness was produced or inflicted, for example, overexertion while lifting or fall from a ladder,

Fatality rate – Represents the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

Foreign-born – Refers to individuals who reside in the U.S., but were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas and to parents who were not U.S. citizens, including legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and unauthorized (or undocumented) immigrants.

Full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) – It is used to convert the hours worked by part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees for risk comparison. FTEs is determined by the hours worked per employee on a full-time basis assuming a full-time worker working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, or 2,000 hours per year,

Goods-producing industry – Consists of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (NAICS 11), Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction (NAICS 21), Construction (NAICS 23), and Manufacturing (NAICS 31-33).

Gravity – From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: the level of potential harm to workers, ranging from 0 to 10, with higher numbers representing more serious violations.

Great Recession – Refers to the period from December 2007 to June 2009, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee.

Green construction – Construction that uses environmentally responsible and resource-efficient technology and practices. Green construction is often certified by a green building rating system, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – From the Bureau of Economic Analysis: the market value of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States, regardless of nationality.

Health and Retirement Study (HRS) – A biennial longitudinal national survey on Americans over the age of 50 that collects information on labor force participation, health status, retirement, and many other items.

Hearing impairment – Refers to the definition of hearing loss used by the 2013 Global Burden of Disease study: an average decibel hearing threshold of at least 20 across 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz in the better ear.

Hearing trouble – From the National Health Interview Survey: refers to those who reported that without the use of hearing aids or other listening devices, had “a little trouble hearing, moderate trouble, a lot of trouble, or [were] deaf.”

Heart condition – For the purposes of this Chart Book, defined as individuals who answered “Yes” to the National Health Interview Survey question: “Have you EVER been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had …any kind of heart condition or heart disease?”

Hispanic – A term used by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to refer to persons who identified themselves in the enumeration or survey process as being Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino. Persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity may be of any race.

Hispanic-owned – Hispanics of any race own 51 percent or more of the stock or equity of the business.

Immigrant workers – Workers who enter the U.S. and settle down in the country.

Incidence rate – From the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: represents the number of injuries and/or illnesses per 100 (or 10,000) full-time equivalent workers (see FTEs).

Incorporated self-employment – Refers to people who work for themselves in corporate entities. They are more likely to have paid employees.

Incorporated worker See self-employed.

Independent contractor – An individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of an independent contractor are subject to self-employment tax (see self-employed).

Individual proprietorship – Referred to as a “sole proprietorship,” or an unincorporated business with a sole owner. Also included in this category are self-employed persons.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – From the U.S. Green Building Council: a voluntary, consensus-based, market­-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings.

Managers (except construction managers) – Refers to all other managerial occupations, including architectural and engineering managers, equipment managers, financial managers, human resources mangers, etc.

Mean – Or average; the sum of all the numbers in the set divided by the amount of numbers in the set.

Median – The numerical value separating the higher half of a sample from the lower half. If there is an even number of observations, then the median is the average of the two middle values.

Medical expenditures – Include payments from all sources to hospitals, physicians, other medical care providers, and pharmacies for services received for medical conditions reported by respondents. Expenditures for hospital-based services include those for both facility and separately billed physicians’ services. Over-the-counter drugs, alternative care services, and telephone contacts with medical providers are not included.

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) – A set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the United States. MEPS is a major source of data on the cost and use of health care and health insurance coverage in the U.S.,

Migrant worker – A person who moves from place to place to get work; refers to those who enter the U.S. for work but usually do not have an intention to stay permanently in the country.

Multiemployer plan – A collectively bargained plan maintained by more than one employer, usually within the same or related industries, and a labor union. These plans are often referred to as “Taft-Hartley plans” (ERISA Secs. 3(37) and 4001(a)(3)),

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 onward): in the category of Nature, MSDs include an injury or illness from pinched nerve; herniated disc; meniscus tear; sprains, strains, and tears; hernia (traumatic and non-traumatic); pain, swelling, and numbness; carpal or tarsal tunnel syndrome; Raynaud’s syndrome or phenomenon; and musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders. In the category of Event or Exposure, MSDs include an injury or illness due to overexertion and bodily reaction; overexertion involving outside sources; repetitive motion involving microtasks; other and multiple exertions or bodily reactions; and being rubbed, abraded, or jarred by vibration;

Nanomaterials – From the National Nanotechnology Initiative: all nanoscale materials or materials that contain nanoscale structures internally or on their surfaces. These can include engineered nano-objects (such as nanoparticles, nanotubes, or nanoplates) and naturally occurring nanoparticles (such as volcanic ash, sea spray, or smoke). The nanoscale is the dimensional range of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers.

Nanotechnology – From the National Nanotechnology Initiative: a new technology that deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers (or one billionth of a meter).

Nature (of injury or illness) – From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 onward): identifies the principal physical characteristic(s) of an injury or illness,

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) – Hearing loss that can be attributed to exposure to hazardous levels of noise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines it as a change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline audiogram of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more in either ear at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz and the employee’s total hearing level is 25 dB or more above the audiometric zero (also averaged at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz) in the same ear(s),

Nonemployer – From the U.S. Census Bureau: a business with no payroll or paid employees, with annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industry), and subject to federal income taxes. Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses. Nonemployers can be partnerships, sole proprietorships, or corporations without employees.

Non-white, non-Hispanic – From the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey: those who chose to identify and report themselves in ethnicity as non-Hispanic and in race as black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or some race other than white.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) – A system used to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Under NAICS, the construction industry is coded as 23. This system is updated every five years.

Occupational Information Network (O*NET) – A free online database that contains hundreds of occupational definitions to help job seekers, businesses, and workforce development professionals to understand today’s world of work in the United States,

Overexertion – Cases of injury or illness that occur when excessive physical effort (such as lifting or carrying) is exerted on an outside source (such as a heavy container).

Paid employees – From the Economic Census: consists of full- and part-time employees, including salaried officers and executives of corporations, who are on payroll in the pay period including March 12. Included are employees on paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations; not included are proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.

Partial inspections – From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: an inspection whose focus is limited to certain potentially hazardous areas, operations, conditions, or practices at the establishment.

Permissible exposure limit (PEL) – A limit established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the legally allowable exposure of an employee to a chemical substance or physical agent.

Production worker – In this Chart Book, same as blue-collar worker. From the Current Population Survey: all workers, except managerial, professional (architects, accountants, lawyers, etc.), and administrative support staff. Production workers can be either wage-and-salary or self-employed workers.

Racial minorities – From the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey: those who chose to identify themselves as black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or some race other than white. Persons who select more than one race are counted as racial minorities in this Chart Book.

Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) – From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: based on risk evaluations using human or animal health effects data as well as an assessment of what can be feasibly achieved by engineering controls and measured by analytical techniques.

Regions – From the U.S. Census Bureau: The 50 states and the District of Columbia are divided into four regions: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West,

Road construction sites – Includes construction, maintenance, or utility work on a road, highway, or street based on the definition used in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seasonal adjustment – A statistical technique which eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series. This permits easier observation and analysis of cyclical, trend, and other non-seasonal movements in the data.

Self-employed – From the Current Population Survey: in this Chart Book, includes both incorporated and unincorporated. However, only the unincorporated self-employed are included in the self-employed category in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ publications.

Serious, willful, and repeat (SWR) – From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: a serious violation is issued when a workplace hazard exists which has a high probability of causing death or serious physical harm and that employers knew or should have known about. A willful violation is issued when an employer knowingly does not abide by OSHA standards and makes no effort to rectify the situation. A repeated violation is when employers are repeatedly cited for the same OSHA violation.

Source (of injury) – The Source and Secondary Source identify any objects, substances, equipment, or other factors that were responsible for the injury or illness incurred by the worker or that caused the Event or Exposure,

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) – This system was replaced by the North American Industry Classification System in 1997. The last version in 1987 included three major construction categories: general contractors (15), heavy and highway (16), and specialty contractors (17).

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) – A system used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories according to their job description for the purpose of collecting, calculating, and disseminating data. Construction and Extraction Occupations (47-0000) is a major category in this system. The system is updated periodically.

Survey of Business Owners (SBO) – A data source collected by the U.S. Census Bureau on selected economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.

Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) – An annual survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the SOII collects data on nonfatal injuries and illnesses from a sample of employers. For more serious cases which involve one or more days away from work, it also provides a description of the injury or illness circumstances as well as the characteristics of the affected workers.

Temporary workers – From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: respondents who answered “yes” to either of the two questions: “Is your current main job a temporary job?” or “Is your current main job a seasonal job?” Temporary workers could be full-time or part-time workers.

Unauthorized immigrants – Refers to all foreign-born non-citizens who are not legal residents. This definition reflects standard and customary usage by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and academic researchers. The vast majority of unauthorized immigrants entered the country without valid documents or arrived with valid visas but stayed past their visa expiration date or otherwise violated the terms of their admission.

Unemployed – Those who did not work during the reference week, but were available for work and had actively looked for employment at some point in the previous four weeks. Individuals on layoff or waiting to report to work are considered unemployed.

Unemployment rate – The number of unemployed persons as a percent of the labor force.

Unincorporated self-employment – Refers to individuals who work for themselves, such as independent contractors, independent consultants, and freelance workers. Most often, they do not have paid employees (see nonemployer).

Unincorporated workerSee self-employed.

Union market share – Proportion of union workers (mainly in production occupations) in a given segment of an industry; similar to union membership as defined by the Current Population Survey.

Value-added prices – From the Economic Census: a measure of construction activity equal to the value of business done, less costs for construction work subcontracted out to others and costs for materials, components, supplies, and fuels.

Wage-and-salary – Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, or pay from a private employer or from a government unit.