SafeAlert-Banner-1Constructions Workers Exhibit a Higher Prevalence of Risky Behaviors

Targeted Interventions Will Help to Reduce these Behaviors

Construction work is physically demanding and dangerous. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), previous studies have suggested that construction workers who exhibit certain health risk behaviors may be more likely to experience work-related injuries. To this end, NIOSH conducted a study to compare the prevalence of six health risk behaviors among construction workers to workers in other industries. The study was conducted from 2013 to 2016 and included data from 32 states and 38 different construction occupations1. The main findings are summarized by NIOSH below2:

  • Smoking, smokeless tobacco use, binge drinking, no leisure-time physical activity, and not always using a seatbelt were significantly more prevalent among construction workers than in the general workforce.
  • A sixth health risk behavior, getting less than seven hours of sleep a day, was significantly less prevalent among construction workers as compared to the general workforce.
  • Construction managers had elevated prevalence's for smoking, smokeless tobacco use, binge drinking, and not always using a seatbelt.
  • Because of their important leadership roles, behavior changes among construction managers could have positive effects on the safety and health culture in the construction industry.
  • Carpenters, construction laborers, and roofers all had significantly elevated prevalence's for five of the six behaviors (all except short sleep).
  • Roofers, as well as electrical power-line installers and repairers, had significantly elevated prevalence's for binge drinking.
  • Operating engineers, who operate and maintain heavy earthmoving equipment, had very high rates for smokeless tobacco use.

NIOSH researchers state that construction workers may benefit from targeted interventions and health programs specific to their particular occupation to reduce these behaviors2.

The study published in the May issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine can be found by clicking here1. A NIOSH Update summarizing this study can be found by clicking here2.


This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Old Republic Contractors Insurance Group, Inc. does not endorse or recommend any products or services nor does it make any representation or warranty regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information. Old Republic Contractors Insurance Group, Inc. shall have no liability or responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.

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