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Effects of Firm Size on Risks and Reporting of Elevation Fall Injury in Construction Trades  

Pete Kines, PhD, Kim Lyngby Mikkelsen, MD, PhD
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

From the Division of Safety Research, Department of Epidemiology and Work Environment Surveillance, National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark (Dr Kines, Dr Mikkelsen); and Division of Construction Engineering and Management, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark (Dr. Kines).

Address correspondence to: Pete Kines, PhD, National Institute of Occupational Health, Lersø Parkallé 105, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; E-mail address: pk@ami.dk.


Although many occupational safety programs are targeted toward large firms, the construction industry is dominated by smaller firms. This study examines the differential effect of firm size on the risk and the reporting of over 3000 serious and minor nonfatal elevation fall injuries in Danish construction industry trades (1993 to 1999). Small firms (<20 employees) accounted for 93% of all firms and 55% of worker-years. There was an inverse relationship between firm size and serious injury rates and a direct relationship between firm size and minor injury rates. An inverse relationship between firm size and injury severity odds ratios (serious versus minor) was found for carpentry, electrical work, general contracting, and the remaining other trades. Health and safety issues, legislation, and enforcement in the construction industry should, to a greater degree, be focused on smaller firms.

©2003 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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