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Contrasting Prevalence of Health and Safety Risks and Controls

Human Resources, Occupational Health & Safety
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Construction is one of the highest risk industries with high rates of worker fatalities and non-fatal injuries. Residential construction has unique challenges compared to commercial construction, and is typified by fewer safety resources, lower levels of work organization, and small, often scattered crews with less safety oversight. Apprentices who have the least amount of training and experience are often placed in the riskiest jobs. These differences in work organization between residential and commercial construction may result in differences in health outcomes and risk behaviors. The purpose of this project was to compare risks and supports for safety and health between residential and commercial apprentice construction workers.

Take-home message:

Apprentice carpenters employed by residential contractors report significantly higher safety and health risks, fewer supports for health and safety, and poorer health outcomes than apprentices in commercial work.

Learning Outcomes

Which traditional health and safety risks and policies differ between apprentices in residential versus commercial construction work
How work organization and workforce factors differ by type of construction
How apprentices in residential perceive their health compared to apprentices in commercial work


Ann Marie Dale, PhD
Dr. Dale has over 30 years of experience in the clinical treatment of work-related upper extremity conditions and in worksite based prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. She has used a variety of intervention methods for individuals and groups of workers in many industries including healthcare, construction, retail grocery, automotive, manufacturing, and service industries, to prevent or reduce the effects of physical exposures from work tasks. Since joining the OSHR Group in 2001, she earned a Ph.D. in Epidemiology with a focus on measurement and evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders. She is currently exploring safety and ergonomic interventions in the construction industry and participatory health interventions among retail grocery workers. Both projects focus on reducing physical exposures and improving the health of workers. Dr. Dale has a passion for helping workers maintain and regain function in order to lead successful and productive work lives.

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