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Issue 34, August 2014 

Can Big Data Answer Big Questions about Worker Safety and Health? 
computer_server.jpg Big Data. You hear the term all the time now, sometimes in alarming contexts. There's no question that modern computing power and electronic records have made data analyses possible for us that previous generations couldn't have imagined.

A CPWR-supported team at the University of Illinois at Chicago is a case in point. A decade ago it would have been impossible -- or at least prohibitively expensive -- to link the hospital admissions information in the Illinois Trauma Registry to corresponding records the Hospital Discharge Database and to the Illinois Workers Compensation Claims Database. Today we can, and the linkage enabled the research team to investigate some important questions about construction worker injuries and compensation.

doctor2.jpg In findings that should be of great interest to policymakers, insurers and construction firms, the team found that data from the first two databases recording the severity of injury and length of hospital stay could enable useful predictions about the size of workers' compensation awards. Read about it in the
American Journal of Industrial Medicine (Characterizing the relationship between in-hospital measures and workers' compensation outcomes among severely injured construction workers using a data linkage strategy) or check out the Key Findings summary on our website.

Image Courtesy of New Labor 
The linkage also shined a light on a disturbing statistical phenomenon. The average (mean) workers' compensation award to Black and Latino construction workers suffering a workplace injury was 20% below that of a similarly placed White construction worker with equally severe injuries. Additional research will be required to explain the cause of this disparity. The results have been published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Analysis of Ethnic Disparities in Workers' Compensation Claims Using Data Linkage) and a Key Findings summary is available at www.cpwr.com. 


Pete Stafford

Executive Director    


Recently Published Journal Articles by CPWR Scholars


Fatalities in the construction industry: findings from a revision of the BLS Occupational Injury and Illness classification system. Xiuwen Dong, Julie Largay, Xuanwen Wang, and Janice Windau. Monthly Labor Review, July 2014.  


Risks of a lifetime in construction, part I: Traumatic injuries

Xiuwen Sue Dong, Knut Ringen, Laura Welch, and John Dement American Journal of Industrial Medicine, June 2014 (published online ahead of print).


Fatal falls in the U.S. residential construction industry. Xiuwen Sue Dong, Xuanwen Wang, Julie A. Largay, James W. Platner, Erich Stafford, Chris Trahan Cain, and Sang D. Choi. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, May 2014 (published online ahead of print). 






Find the latest on regulatory efforts and Create-A-Plan to control exposures at Work Safely with Silica -- a one-stop source of information on how to prevent a silica hazard and protect workers 


eLCOSH  is the premier online source for construction health and safety information, with  research,  training materials, fact sheets and more 



Construction Solutions


Construction Solutions is a safety and health database designed with construction contractors and workers in mind - an inventory of common industry hazards paired with common-sense solutions



Visit CPWR for information on our training programs, research findings, and resources for your health and safety or research initiatives






Tools of the Trade, 6/30/2014



 Tackling health inequities for low-income workers 


ISHN, 7/4/2014


National fall prevention "stand-down" success stories 


ISHN 7/15/2014 





Mapping the lives and deaths of workers: An emerging way to tell the story of occupational safety 


The Pump Handle, 7/18/2014 




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CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Working with partners like you in business, labor, government, and the universities, we strive every day to make work safer for the 9 million men and women who work in the U.S. construction industry!