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Variability in the computation of OSHA Recordable Injury Rates

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041280/00001

Material Information

Title: Variability in the computation of OSHA Recordable Injury Rates
Physical Description: 1 online resource (67 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Cobb, Thomas
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: accident, construction, injury, osha, rir, safety
Building Construction -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Building Construction thesis, M.S.B.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: VARIABILITY IN THE COMPUTATION OF OSHA RECORDABLE INJURY The reporting of construction safety performance in the United States is a requirement imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as many insurance companies. One common means of measuring a construction firm s safety performance is the OSHA Recordable Injury (RIR). The RIR is intended to produce an accurate benchmark for measuring a firm s overall safety performance. This study was conducted to determine the nature of the variability of the computation of the RIR. A survey was conducted in which 31 construction safety professionals participated. These participants represented a sample from the top 100 construction firms in the United States. The results of this study indicate that there is little consistency in the computation of the RIR as it is used in the construction industry. Furthermore, the inclusion of white collar office hours can skew the RIR and produce an inaccurate measure of safety performance.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas Cobb.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.B.C.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Hinze, Jimmie W.
Local: Co-adviser: Olbina, Svetlana.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-06-30

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041280:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041280/00001

Material Information

Title: Variability in the computation of OSHA Recordable Injury Rates
Physical Description: 1 online resource (67 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Cobb, Thomas
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: accident, construction, injury, osha, rir, safety
Building Construction -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Building Construction thesis, M.S.B.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: VARIABILITY IN THE COMPUTATION OF OSHA RECORDABLE INJURY The reporting of construction safety performance in the United States is a requirement imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as many insurance companies. One common means of measuring a construction firm s safety performance is the OSHA Recordable Injury (RIR). The RIR is intended to produce an accurate benchmark for measuring a firm s overall safety performance. This study was conducted to determine the nature of the variability of the computation of the RIR. A survey was conducted in which 31 construction safety professionals participated. These participants represented a sample from the top 100 construction firms in the United States. The results of this study indicate that there is little consistency in the computation of the RIR as it is used in the construction industry. Furthermore, the inclusion of white collar office hours can skew the RIR and produce an inaccurate measure of safety performance.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas Cobb.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.B.C.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Hinze, Jimmie W.
Local: Co-adviser: Olbina, Svetlana.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-06-30

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041280:00001


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1 VARIABILITY IN THE COMPUTATION OF OSHA RECORDABLE INJURY RATES By THOMAS WILLIAM COBB A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009

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2 2009 Thomas William Cobb

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3 To the safety of construction workers all over the world

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I would like to thank my friends and family for providing the support and encouragement to continue with my studies. Secondly, I would like to thank all of the faculty and staff at the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction for their dedic ation and hard work. Special than ks to Dr. Jimmie Hinze for providing the expertise and assistance necessary to complete this research.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 7 LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................ 8 LIST OF ABBR EVIATIONS ............................................................................................. 9 ABSTRACT................................................................................................................... 10 CHA PTER 1 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................... 12 Background ............................................................................................................. 12 Statement of Purpose ............................................................................................. 12 Research Ob jectives ............................................................................................... 13 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 14 Safety in the United St ates ..................................................................................... 14 Why is Safety a Conc ern? ...................................................................................... 15 Bureau of Labor Statis tics ................................................................................ 16 Occupational Safety and H ealth Admini stration ............................................... 16 Safety M easur es ..................................................................................................... 18 Experience Modi fication Rate ........................................................................... 19 OSHA Recordable Inju ry Rate (R IR)................................................................ 20 Safety Practice s and Conv entions .......................................................................... 21 Owners Role in Safety ........................................................................................... 23 3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................... 25 Overvi ew................................................................................................................. 25 Development of Surve y........................................................................................... 26 Explanation of Survey ............................................................................................. 26 Reaching the Target Respons e Group ................................................................... 27 Distribution of Survey .............................................................................................. 29 Data Collection and Record ing ............................................................................... 29 Summary................................................................................................................ 30 4 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS .................................................................................... 31 General Description of Res pondents ...................................................................... 31

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6 Research Results ................................................................................................... 31 Additional Analysis .................................................................................................. 42 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RE COMMENDAT IONS ....................................................... 47 Research Reco mmendat ions .................................................................................. 49 Industry Reco mmendati ons .................................................................................... 49 APPENDIX A SURVEY COVER LETTER ..................................................................................... 51 B RIR COMPUTAT ION SU RVEY .............................................................................. 52 C OSHA FORMS FOR RECORDING WORK-RELAT ED INJURIES AND ILLNES SES............................................................................................................ 54 LIST OF RE FERENCES ............................................................................................... 66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................ 67

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7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Type of responding co mpany (31 replie s) .......................................................... 32 4-2 Annual volume of construction work put in p lac e (27 r eplies)............................. 33 4-3 Total number of hours worked in 2008 ( 30 rep lies) ............................................ 34 4-4 Overall RIR (28 repl ies) ...................................................................................... 35 4-5 Does RIR include hours of both fi eld workers and office personnel? (30 replie s)................................................................................................................ 36 4-6 Total number of direct hire field employees (27 replies) ..................................... 36 4-7 Total number of field hours worked ( 23 rep lies) .................................................. 37 4-8 RIR of direct hire fi eld workers (1 6 rep lies) ......................................................... 38 4-9 Total number of office personnel ( 28 rep lies) ..................................................... 39 4-10 Total number of office hours worked ( 17 replies) ................................................ 39 4-11 RIR of office per sonnel (14 replies) .................................................................... 40 4-12 Which groups are included in RIR calculations? (27 r eplies) .............................. 41 4-13 How often do owners request information on RIRs that isolate field workers from o ffice pers onnel? (31 replie s)..................................................................... 42 4-15 RIR based on percent age of offi c e hours........................................................... 44 4-16 RIRs of various contractor types ......................................................................... 45

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Characteristics of firms with annua l volume greater than $1 bi llion .................... 434-2 Characteristics of firms with annual volume less than $1 bi llion......................... 44

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9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics CFOI Census of Fatal Injuries RIR Recordable Injury Rate OSH Occupational Safety and Health EMR Experience Modification Rate CM Construction Manager

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10 Abstract of Thesis Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction VARIABILITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY COMPUTATIONS OF OSHA RECORDABLE INJURY RATES By Thomas William Cobb December 2009 Chair: Jimmie Hinze Co chair: Svetlana Olbina Major: Building Construction The reporting of construction safety per formance in the United States is a requirement imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as many insurance companies. The co llection and analysis of such data can be helpful in determining the trends of individual projects, of c onstruction firms and also the construction industry. One common means of measuring a construction firms safety performance is the OSHA Recordable Injury Rate hereafter referred to as RIR. RIRs are a standard of measurement based on the number of OSHA recordable injuries that are sustained per 200,000 hours of worker expos ure. While the RIR is intended to produce an accurate benchmark for measuri ng a firms overall safety performance, it can be argued that there is much room for improvement in the arena of accurately measuring a firms overall safety performance. This study was conducted to determine the nature of the vari ability of the comput ation of the RIR. A survey was conducted in which 31 construction safety professionals participated. These participants represented a sample from the top 100 construction firms in the United States. The results of this study indicate that there is little

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11 consistency in the computation of the RIR as it is used in the construction industry. The majority of firms do not isolate the reco rded hours for field per sonnel from office personnel, and thus couldnt distinguish between field office hours and home office hours. Results indicate that there is a growing consortium of unintelligible data being collected and presented as an RIR to various interested parties. This study concludes that the RIR should be collected and computed in a manner similar to other scientific data. This should be done through a bonafide procedure that can be replicated throughout the entire construction industry.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background During the past four decades, construction safety has become a subject of ever increasing importance to all par ties involved in the construction process. This increased level of concern for construction safety is rooted in humanitarian c oncerns for human safety and also in several very compel ling economic advantages. Measures of past safety performance are primarily used by insurance companies and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but they are also used by facility owners when selecting and evaluating contractor s. Given the inherent importance of construction safety, it is crucial that the metrics for defining safety provide an accurate indication of a firms past safe ty performance. This study aims to explore the extent of the variability in the practice of calculati ng the OSHA recordable injury rate (RIR) and determine if there are any st eps that can be taken to improve the int egrity of RIR computations. Statement of Purpose This research sought to explore the construction indust rys practices for computing OSHA Recordable Injury Rates. Recordable Injury Rates (RIR) are essentially a measure of safety performance expressed as a function of the number of recordable injuries that occur per 200,000 hours worked. This is often considered to be the same as the number of field hours worked, but this may not be the case. This study sought to explore the composition of the hours worked portion of the RIR calculation. For example, how do companies compute the number of hours to include in the calculation? To date, there is no industry standard method or definition of exactly which hours can

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13 be included in the RIR calcul ation. This poses a major potential for variability for the construction industry because the inclusion of white collar office personnel hours could be included in the computat ion and this could skew the RIR values and produce a misleading measure of safety performance. Research Objectives The objective of this study is to determine the level of consistency being used in the computation of the total hours worked when calc ulating RIR. If variability is noted in these computations, suggestions could be de vised whereby greater consistency can be assured.

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14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Safety in the United States Construction in the United States is an $800 billion a year industry and accounts for nearly 13% of the nations Gross Na tional Product (H oonakker et al. 2005). In addition to being a very large industry in the financial sense, construction employs approximately 7% of Americas labor force, which is a signi ficant industry in the U.S. economy. The construction industry has a dism al safety record and accounts for nearly 17% of the nations workers compensation costs (Hoonakker et al. 2005). Construction also posts the highest lost-time injury rate of any major industry and accounts for nearly 20% of the occupational fatalities, accordi ng to the National Safety Council (Nwaelele 1996). It is estimated that the construction i ndustry claims the lives of approximately five workers every working day. Despite all of the advancements and attention to safety in the past decades, the mortality ra te of the construction industry has remained relatively steady. The construction industry conti nues to lose between 1,100 and 1,300 workers per year because of work re lated traumatic fatalities (Broderick and Murphy 2001). These statistics indicate a huge over-repres entation of the construction industry in the grand scheme of job-related injuries. This could possibly be due to the fact that construction is an industry where the work conditions are constantly changing as the facility being constructed evolves. Regardl ess of the explanati on, the paradigm has shifted from an acceptance of injuries and fatalities to zero-tolerance policies and accident-free corporate cultures As an industry, there is a responsibility to constantly improve and strive for safer work envir onments; this includes an accurate and consistent means of measuring and re cording safety performance.

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15 Why is Safety a Concern? Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Healt h Act in 1970, construction safety has become an increasin gly important subject in the US construction industry. Injuries were once an accepted part of constr ucting projects, but this view is changing. In the past it was accepted that injuries and even fatalities were bound to occur on construction projects. The construction indu stry has entered a new era of safety awareness and accident prevention. Zero a ccident policies and an overall culture of safety awareness and attention are commonplace in many corporate philosophies. Besides the obvious humanitarian reasons for increased corporate emphasis on safety precautions, there are several other reasons for this paradigm shift. In a society controlled by insurance companies, law suit s and liability concerns, the construction industry can no longer afford to be unsafe. Contractors committed to safety recognize the financial liabilities associated with an uns afe workplace: high insurance premiums, loss of skilled personnel, low employee mora le, regulatory problem s, etc. (Nwaelele 1996). Perhaps even more significant than the direct costs listed above are the indirect costs associated with poor safety performance. These indirect costs include such items as reduced productivity, delays in project schedules, administrative time, and damage to equipment and the facility (Business Rou ndtable 1982). These indirect costs can be difficult to identify and quantify, but are defin itely a major factor when considering the overall cost of poor safety performance. Oth er indirect accident costs as outlined in Business Roundtable Report A-3 include: Administrative time for inve stigations, reports and paperwork Training and replacement of personnel Wages paid to injured worker s who cannot perform their jobs Clean up and repair of accidents

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16 Negative publicity Third-party liability claims against the owner Equipment damage Low morale There are various organizations that dedicate themselves to tracking and recording the occurrence of work related in juries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are the major organizations that collect statistics on injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics was estab lis hed in 1884 by the Bureau of Labor Act to collect information about employment and labor (BLS). The BLS annually obtains data from more than 150,000 es tablishments (Courtney and Webster 2002). In the past, the BLS statistics only described injuries or illnesses by a single characteristic (Courtney and Webster 2002). In 1982, BLS introduced an expanded survey that collects more detailed data on cases with da ys away from work (Courtney and Webster 2002). Users could find information on counts and rates, but not nature, severity, and contributing events and exposures (Courtney and Webster 2002). This lack of detail made it difficult for users to perform in -depth analyses of injuries and illnesses because there was insufficient data available to anal yze. In 1992 the Bur eau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (C FOI) began providing details on body part, nature of injury, extent and ce rtain antecedents of these cases (Courtney and Webster 2002). Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA was created in 1970 through the pass age of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). OSHAs primary missi on is to prevent work-related injuries,

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17 illnesses, and deaths (OSHA 2009) Since the Administration was created in 1971, occupational death rates have been cut by 62% and injury rates have declined by 42% (OSHA 2009). OSHA has an annual budget of over $480 million and employs over 2000 employees, of which approximately 1000 are compliance inspectors (OSHA 2009). For 2006 and 2007 OSHA inspected approximately 38,000 work places each year. An additional 58,000 inspections were perfo rmed by states running their own OSHA programs (OSHA 2009). When it comes to inspections: Top priority are reports of imminent dangers-accidents about to happen; sec ond are fatalities or accidents serious enough to send three or more employees to the hospital. Third are employee complaints. Referrals from other governm ent agencies are fourth Fifth are targeted inspections-such as the Site Specific Ta rgeting Program, which focuses on employers that report high injury and ill ness rates, and special emphasis programs that zero in on hazardous work such as trenching or equipm ent such as mechanical power presses. Follow-up inspections are the final priori ty (OSHA 2009). Aside from inspections, OSHA also plays a significant role in re cordkeeping. OSHA keeps extensive, publicly accessible records on fatalities that are searchable by cause of injury. However, to conduct detailed analyses on nonfatal injuries researchers frequently must turn to medical and/or workers compensation claim records that are often categorized by type of injury area of the body (Hinze et al 2006). The OSH Act requires employers to record accident information in Form number 300. Information found in OSHA form number 300 includes: Number of fatalities Number of injuries and ill nesses involving lost workdays

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18 Number of injuries and illnes ses involving restricted workdays Number of days away from work Number of days of restricted work activity Number of injuries and ill nesses without lost workdays Information found in OSHA form number 301 includes: Date of injury Job title of injured worker Description of injury Classification of injury (most serious outcome) Number of days away from work According to a recent study, constructi on workers sustain approximately half a million OSHA recordable injuries each year (Hinze et al. 2006). This statistic represents an improvement in safety perform ance, but although injury ra tes have fallen, the fatality rates remain flat (Broderick and Murphy 2001). Safety Measures There are several measures of safety t hat are commonly used in the construction industry to describe a contractors past safety performance. Most notably, the experience modification rate (EMR) and OSHA recordable injury rate (RIR) are the two primary measures used to gauge performance. There are various other statisti cs and figures collected by the Occupational Sa fety and Health Administration (OSHA) and reported annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The EMR is basically a rate used by insurance companies to calculat e the companys workers compensation insurance rates (Hoonakker et al. 2005). RIR, is equal to the sum of the number of recordable injuries and illnesses (as def ined by OSHA) times 200,000 (the assumed hours worked per year by 100 employees) divided by the number of hours worked.

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19 Experience Modification Rate The EMR is a safety measure used to modify the premium paid for workers compensation insurance (Hinze et al. 1995) The EMR is a complex numerical value based on the companys safety records from the past three year s, excluding the immediately preceding year (Hoonakker et al. 2005). According to Hoonakker the purpose of the EMR is to help improve predi ction of future losses based on past experience. Employers with bad safety outcomes pay more for workers compensation insurance premiums than employers with good safety outcomes. Therefore, the EMR is designed to provide an incentive to the em ployer to improve its safety outcomes (Hoonakker et al. 2005). The EMR is based on a series of complex calculations and variables. It is designed so that the occurrence of one major accident will not severely alter it, but the occurrence of many minor accidents will. The thought behind this convention is that the occurr ence of many minor injuries will eventually lead to a major one (Hoonakker et al. 2005). The computati on of EMR values shows that injury frequency is counted more heavily than severity (Hinze et al. 1995). This gives contractors a major incentive to keep minor in juries to a minimum. In a study performed by Hinze, it was determined that the use of the EMR has two major shortcomings. First, the results of the study show ed that firms paying higher wages have lower EMR values even though their safety performance may be identical to firms paying lower wages (Hinze et al. 1995). Second, the study al so found that smaller firms have minimum attainable values of EMR that are much higher than those of the larger firms (Hinze et al. 1995).

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20 OSHA Recordable Injury Rate (RIR) As stated previously, the RIR is equal to the sum of the num ber of recordable injuries and illness es multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of hours worked. In calculating the OSHA recordable injury rate, the number of injuries in the formula are the total of the numbers of fatalities, injuries and illnesses involving lost and restricted workdays, and injuries and illness without lost workdays where the workers were treated by a physician. The Bureau of Labor Statis tics compiles construction industry incidencerate averages each year for 14 separate classi fications of construction work and various employee size groupings (Business Roundtab le 1982). OSHA requires companies with 11 or more employees to record all recordable injuries in the OSHA 300 log at the time of occurrence (Hoonakker et al. 2005). O ne major disadvantage of this method of measuring safety performance is that it is impossible to verify whether a company has indeed reported an accident or injury, even if reporting is mandatory (Hoonakker et al. 2005). Another disadvantage of this method is that the hours worked component of the calculation is very loosely defined. This c an lead to a variety of problems. The main problem being that companies can include the hours of various employees who have billable hours, but have no jobsite exposure to injury. An example of this would be a construction management firm where only 10% of its workfo rce is made up of field workers and the other 90% are office personnel who never wo rk in the field. It is only logical that this company would have a very low recordable injury rate, even if their field employees are frequently injured on the job. This scenari o is a fundamental problem with the RIR computation, and ha s yet to be addressed in any of the literature reviewed in the course of this study.

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21 The EMR and RIR are both cons idered lagging indicators of safety performance, meaning that they only change after the occu rrence of an accident. There are a few industry professionals and companies who ar e pushing for the use of more leading indicators. Currently, numbers are driving the actions, rather than actions driving the numbers (Prevette 2006). The OSH professi on is increasingly advocating, seeking and using leading indicators (such as behavio r based safety and near miss analysis) to better manage workplace safety (Courtney and Webster 2002). Safety Practices and Conventions Studies ov er the years have addressed vari ous safety practices and policies that are employed by companies to promote safer work places. The current consensus in the field is that safety should be an integral part of the corporate culture and that companies should strive for ze ro incidents. Typically a company looks at numbers such as injury rates by comparing this month to la st month, or by comparing this month to a numerical goal. This is a simple yet damagi ng approach (Prevette 2006). In an effort to combat this old school style of thinking, se veral safety initiatives have been proposed over the years: safety policies, safety comm ittees, safety training and safety meetings are all examples (Hoonakker et al. 2005). The consensus in the field is that there ar e several safety measures that should be incorporated into every companys safety plan. In a 2001 study, the following practices were determined to provide a framework for any companys safety program (Broderick and Murphy 2001). Pre-job planning a thorough analysis of the potential health or physical hazards that may be encountered during t he work cycle. Appropriate engineering and/or administrative controls should be im plemented to obviate these prospective hazards. Where hazards still exist, appropriate protective systems and equipment

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22 must be used and all employees trained in the use and limitations of such protective equipment (B roderick and Murphy 2001). Orientation Data clearly show that new wo rkers to a company are at greater risk. Even long-term employees with the same company are at higher risk for injury when they move from one project to the next (B roderick and Murphy 2001). All employees should receive comprehensive orientation. Pre-work meetings Toolbox talks have become standard industry practice. Do they relate to the work at hand, or are t hey simply pre-printed forms sent from the company headquarters to all job sites? (Broderick and Murphy 2001). Toolbox talks should relate to the hazards t hat the worker will face that day. Huddles Construction work is very fast paced, situations are constantly changing. Workers should be encouraged to huddle any time a new task is being undertaken to address all safety concerns and what if scenarios (Broderick and Murphy 2001). Planning Supervisors should be equipped with modern planning tools, such as day planners, electronic planners, and any other aids often reserved for project managers and engineers (Broderick and Murphy 2001). A related study conducted in 2003 yiel ded similar results. Better safety performances were noted when the GC or CM provided a full-time project safety director, discussed safety at coordination m eetings and pre-job c onferences, monitored project safety performance, insisted on full compliance with the safety regulations, and had top management involvement in project safety (Hinze and Gambatese 2003). Similarly, it was found that on large projects, subcontractor safety was influenced by the quality of the scheduling and coordination effort of the gener al contractor or CM, and the degree of emphasis placed on safety by the GC or CM (Hinze and Gambatese 2003). These findings seem to suggest that ev en projected attitudes about safety can influence safety performance on a project. These suggestions can provide the foundation for a well-rounded safety program, but should not be the only precautions taken.

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23 Owners Role in Safety The majority of the research findings in the field of construction safety agree on the importance of owner educat ion and involvement when it comes to selecting a safe contractor. Aside from the humanitarian reasons, there ar e a multitude of economic benefits and reasons for an owner to be concerned with safety. There is ample economic incentive, in addition to humanitarian concerns, for owners to play an important role in const ruction safety (Business Roundtable 1982). Suffice it to say that the high cost of construction accidents gives owners a compelling reason to review the past safety performances of t he contractors they hire. Perhaps the most compelling reason of all is the limitation of lia bility for jobsite accidents. Much has been written about t he need for owners to evaluate the past safety performances of construction firms. Wh ile this is based to some extent on the humanitarian concerns to minimize human suffe ring, the primary thru st for the safety evaluations is to reduce the potential exposure of owners to liability suits (Hinze et al. 1995). It is not the contractors sole respons ibility to be concerned wit h jobsite safety. In fact the owner can often be ultimately held accountable in certain situations. The party who funds projects and awards the contract may actually have ultimate control; if so, that party should also have absolute respons ibility for site safety (Nwaelele 1996). Construction owners have a legal duty to exer cise reasonable care to correct or warn against non-apparent site hazards which may be faced by the construction contractor in the course of his performance (Business Roundtable 1982). In certain cases, owners can face third-party lawsuits brought by cont ractor's employees for injuries resulting from the owners failure to exercise the above mentioned dut y. The owners duty often extends to unsafe activities by contractor s which create dangers for others on the site.

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24 Thus, the owner could be liable for injuries to persons on the site caused by apparent unsafe practices of the construction contra ctor (Business Roundtable 1982). In addition to correcting and warning others of site hazar ds, the owner also has the duty to make sure that contractors underst and their contractual responsibility to perform safely (Business Roundtable 1982). In recent years, it has become common fo r private owners to include a review of past safety performance in their selection cr iteria (Hinze et al 1995). Progress has certainly been made in educating owners, or purchasers of construction services, to look at contractors safety performance as a significant indicator of their ability to manage safety, as well as all other aspects of successful projects (Broderick and Murphy 2001). A prospective contractor wit h a history of good safety performance is more likely to perform safely in the future than a contractor wit h a poor, or less-thanaverage, safety record (Business Roundtable 1982). When selecting a contractor, owners must remember that the lowest bid is not always the best choice. Prudent contractors usually include the cost of supplying safety equipment and employee training in their bids Consequently, their bids may be higher, causing owners to look elsewhere (Nwaelele 1996). Many owners attempt to shi ft liability by including hol d harmless clauses in their construction contracts. This approach seemed to work for a number of years, but in recent decisions the courts have rea lized the tremendous advantage that a loose interpretation of these clauses gives owner s and are no longer supporting such broad interpretations (Nwaelele 1996).

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25 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview This study was designed to explore current industry practices of the calculation of the OSHA recordable injury rate (RIR). OSHA has clear ly defined the process for calculating the RIR in their literature which can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, and is also attached in appendix C of th is paper. Despite the fa ct that there are published instructions for how to calculate the RIR, there is still some room for interpretation and variation. Additionally, fi rms seeking to provide a more accurate measure of past safety performance might hav e alternate methods for calculating the RIR that only include the injury rates of employees who are exposed to hazards on the job. The intent of this res earch was to examine the variabi lity in the computation of project RIRs of companies due to the use of hours from varying par ties associated with the project. The goal of this study was to determine exactly how construction companies are compiling the hours worked porti on of their RIR calculations. This study also aimed to shed light on the fact that there is much room for improvem ent on the RIR as an accurate measure of safety performance. This research is meant to provide info rmation for safety pr ofessionals and policy makers who are seeking a better way to m easure and quantify safety performance. This research is also meant to serve as a gui de for construction owners who may routinely evaluate contractors and make decisions based on the best information available.

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26 Development of Survey The fundamental question this survey s ought to answer is: How are contractors computing their RIR? To acquire data on this question, a survey was developed to obtain infor mation on the current practice s of calculating the RIR in the U.S. construction industry. It was the intent of this researcher to develop a survey that would not require a large investment of time or work on behalf of the respondent. Keeping that fundamental premise in mind, the survey was developed over a series of approximately nine review cycles between this researcher and the thesis chair. These revisions encompassed anything from grammatical corre ctions to the addition and deletion of entire lines of questioning. To date there are no docu mented studies on the ca lculation of the RIR. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any study that addresses the accuracy of the RIR as a safety measure. The direction and scope of this study were defined by the fundamental question that this research seeks to answer, what hours are contractors including in the RIR calculation? Once this fundamental question was addressed in this survey additional information was requested about varying as pects of the repor ting firms. Explanation of Survey The survey was designed to be short and simple It was the goal of this researcher to design a survey that would not be a burden for respondents to fill out. The survey was designed with the basic par ameters of being appro ximately 10 to 15 questions in length that could be answered in no more th an 10 minutes. The final survey contained 16 questions and could be completed in the time frame initially estab lished. The survey began by soliciting some basic background information about the responding firm.

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27 Respondents were asked to indicate which type of contractor they were and to estimate their approximate annual volume of construction work put in place. These two questions provided a solid basis for understanding the type and size of firms that were responding. Next, the respondents were asked to provi de their overall OSHA Recordable Injury Rate, and to indicate whether or not their RIR included both the hour s of field workers and office personnel. The next line of questioni ng involved a series of questions that basically asked the respondent to provide the separate RIRs for field workers and office personnel. These questions were intended to obtain information on the RIR of field workers and to obtain a separate RIR measur e for office personnel. The next question in the survey asked the respondent to se lect among the listed par ameters which were regularly included in RIR calculations. The intent of this question was to determine exactly which hours were regularly being in cluded in RIR calculations. For example, contractors were asked to indicate whether or not they included the hours of company personnel assigned to the projec t, but not working at the pr oject site. They were also asked whether or not they included the work hours of subcontra ctors on the project. Finally, the survey asked respondents to indicate the frequency (based on a percentage) that owners asked th at reported RIRs isolate fi eld hours from office hours. The intent of this question was to determi ne if owners varied in their procedures of requesting information about the types of hours in cluded in the comput ation of the RIR. Reaching the Target Response Group The target response group for this resear ch was corporate safety directors and safety managers of large construction firms i n the United States. Because of the relatively technical and detailed nature of t he survey, it was determi ned that a corporate safety director or manager would be the best party to respond to the survey. Contacts

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28 were made with the top 100 firms on the ENR list of the TOP 400 contractors based on 2008 revenue. An initial contact was m ade through a phone call to the corporate headquarters of the firm; this researcher requested either the e-mail address or voice mail of the safety director or safety manager Since the main method of distribution of the survey was through an on-line w ebsite, it was critical to obtain the e-mail address of the party being contacted. This method had varying results, some companies were happy to divulge their e-mail addresses while others would not give such information. In cases where the receptionist either di d not know the e-mail address or felt uncomfortable giving it out, this researcher would ask to be transferred to voice mail. At this stage in the process, this researcher would leave a brief message describing the intent of the research and asking the cont acted party to return the phone call if interested in participating in the research. This method had a low success rate. This is probably because it required the participant to perform a series of tasks in order to take the survey. Another notable strategy at obtaining the proper contact information from unwilling firms was to ask to be transferred to voice mail, take note of the persons name, then call back a few days later and ask the receptionist for the persons e-mail address making reference to their name. This me thod had a higher success rate, probably due to the fact that the receptionist assumes the person is known to the caller when reference is made to them by name. Finally, a list of e-mail addresses of mem bers of various safety organizations was obtained from Dr. Jimmie Hinze. This list included various safety professionals across the industry and from various disciplines. Only members from the list who were

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29 determined to be in the construction industr y were contacted and asked to participate. This list yielded approximately 40 valid relev ant addresses. This list of Dr. Hinzes personal contacts yielded a very high response rate, perhaps as high as 50%. All in all, over 100 construction safety professionals we re asked to participate in this survey. After obtaining the email addresses of various safety professionals, this researcher would send a personalized e-ma il message requesting that the person participate in the research. This e-mail contained a brief introduction and description of the research. It also requested that t he person forward the survey on to any other parties who might be interested. Distribution of Survey The primary means of distribution for this survey was through electr onic mailing. The survey was hosted on a third-party website dedicated to collecting and recording data for this particular survey. Partici pants had assurance of anonymity. Potential participants were sent a brief e-mail message with a description of the research and an invitation to participate in the survey. An embedded hyperlink was included in the e-mail and interested participants could click and take the survey. Data Collection and Recording The primary method of data collection and reco rding was through a third-party website. Survey results were recorded and stored in r eal time on the Internet. At the completion of the survey period, the results were downloaded and coded in Microsoft Excel. This Exc el file was uploaded into Statistical Pa ckage for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for further analysis.

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30 Summary The survey was developed with the intent of determining exactly how contractors are calculat ing the hours worked portion of the OSHA Recordable Injury Rate. Another objective was to determine whether or not construction owners were requesting contractors to report RIR values representing exclusively the hours worked by field employees. This survey was developed based on the premise that it would be electronically distributed to construction safe ty professionals. Since this survey was being answered on an anonymous basis by prof essionals who have no incentive to participate, convenience and simplicity were key concepts when designing the survey. Results and data were stored on the Internet and downloaded at a later date for further analysis and processing.

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31 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS General Description of Respondents This research is based on 31 survey re sponses. Of 27 respondents providing the information, the aggregate total annual volume of construction work put in place was $48 billion. If this average is extr apolated to all participants, the overall annual volume of construction work put in place by all respondents is estimated to be approximately $50 million dollars. Approximately half of the companies su rveyed had an annual revenue of over a billion dollars. The mean RIR for the companies su rveyed was 1.47 with a median RIR of 1.18 with 94% of the respondents indi cating that this RIR included both office hours and field hours. Eleven respondents were able to isolate thei r field workers and office personnel when computing their RIR values. Of these respondents, the mean RIR was 1.62 with a median of 1.72. Their average field RIR (inj uries representing only field workers) was 2.35 with a median of 1.3. The average office RIR (injuries representing only office personnel) was 0.09 with a median of 0.02. The office RIRs ranged from 0 to 0.65. When asked to indicate the number of direct hire field employees, the responses ranged from companies whose workforce was made up of no field workers to 97.9% field workers. It was also found that the firms with higher percentages of field hours worked had higher RIR values. Research Results All (31) responding firms provided information about characteristics to descri be their construction firms (Figure 4-1). Th is question asked firms to select all

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32 characteristics that applied. There were 12 distinct answer choice combinations received. The most frequent single response was General Contractor. Note that the figure shows Construction Manager as having more responses than General Contractor; this is because Construction M anager was chosen frequently in combination with other choices. The second most frequent response was firms that classified themselves as a General Contractor and a Construction Manager. Four firms classified themselves as specialty contractors, and four firms classified themselves as operating as a General Contractor, Design-Build fi rm, Construction Manager and a Construction Engineering firm. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Specialty ContractorGeneral ContractorDesign-BuildConstruction ManagerConstruction Engineering Other Type of FirmNumber of Responses Figure 4-1. Type of res ponding company (31 replies) Twenty-seven firms provided information on their approximate annual volume of construction work put in place (Figure 4-2) The responses to this question ranged from

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33 $800,000 to $6 billion. Eight firms reported an annual volume of three billion dollars or more while 46% (9 respondents) of the re sponding firms had an annual volume of over 1 billion dollars. The average annual volume of construction work put in 2008 was $1.78 billion dollars and the median was $0.9 billion. The aggregate volume of construction work put in place in 2008 by all of the reporting firms was 48 billion dollars. Assuming that the approximate va lue of the construction work put in place for the entire industry was approximately 800 billion dollars, these survey respondents represent 6% of the industry. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ResponsesAnnual Volume of Construction Work ($ Billions)$800,000 Figure 4-2. Annual volume of construc tion work put in place (27 replies) Thirty firms provided data on the total number of hours worked in 2008. These data include both the hours of field workers and office personnel. The data range from

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34 40,000 hours to 150 million hour s (Figure 4-3). The aver age number of hours worked per firm was 17.3 million with a median of 5. 7 million hours. The aggregate number of hours worked in 2008 by all responding firms is 519 million hours. Onethird of the firms that responded worked 10 million or more hours in 2008, including one not shown on the figure that worked 150 million hours. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 ResponsesHours Worked (Millions)*One respondent reported 150,000,000 Total Work Hours 40,000 Hours Figure 4-3. Total number of hour s worked in 2008 (30 replies) Twenty-eight firms provided information on their overall RIR. These RIR values ranged from 0.14 to 5.71 (Figur e 4-4). Of these firms, 46% reported an overall RIR of less than 1.0, 29% reported an overall RIR between 1.0 and 2.0, and 25% reported an overall RIR above 2.0. The average overall RIR was 1.49, wit h a median overall RIR of 1.2.

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35 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 ResponsesOSHA RIR* One respondent reported an overall RIR of 5.71 0.14 Figure 4-4. Overall RIR (28 replies) Thirty firms provided information on the co mposition of the hours included in their RIR calculation. Of these, 94% of the firms reported that their RIR computations included both the hours of fi eld workers and office personnel, 3% reported that their computation did not include both types of hour s, and 3% reported that they did not know what type of hours were included in the RIR calculations (Figure 4-5). It should be noted that the respondent that report ed that the computat ion did not include both types of hours represented a firm that did not hav e any direct hire field workers.

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36 94% 3% 3% Y ESOffice Personnel Only Dont Know Field Workers and Office Personnel Figure 4-5. Does RIR include hours of both field workers and office personnel? (30 replies) 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 ResponsesTotal Number of Direct Hire Field Workers 0 14 30 One respondent reported 25,000 workers. One respondent reported 30,000 workers. Figure 4-6. Total number of direct hire field employees (27 replies)

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37 Twenty-seven firms provided data on the number of direct hire field workers they employed. These numbers ranged from no fiel d employees to 30,000 field employees (Figure 4-6). The average number of direct hi re field workers was 3,828, with a median of 1,500 field employees. Twenty-three firms provided data on the total number of field hours worked in 2008. The responses ranged from 0 to 55,000 hours (Figure 4-7). T he average number of field hours worked was 9.2 million, with a median number of 2.5 million field hours worked. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 RespnsesTotal Number of Field Hours Worked (Millions)* One respondent reported 50,000,000 field hours One respondent reported 55,000,000 field hours 0 1,500 40,000 Figure 4-7. Total number of fi eld hours worked (23 replies)

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38 Sixteen firms provided data on the RIR of their direct hire field workers. That is, the RIR was specifically restricted to the OSHA reco rdable injury rate of the direct hire field employees. The values ranged from 0.16 to 9.71 (Figure 4-8). The average field RIR was 1.97, with a median field RI R of 1.18. Note that one of the 16 respondents had an RIR that was greater than the national construction average of 5.4 for 2007 (BLS 2009). 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 ResponsesRIR of Field Workers* One respondent reported a field RIR of 9.71 0.16 Figure 4-8. RIR of direct hire field workers (16 replies) Twenty-eight firms provided information on their total number of office personnel. The responses ranged from 14 to 56,000 offi ce personnel (Figure 4-9). The average number of office personnel for this survey was 4783 people with a median number of 450.

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39 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 ResponsesTotal Number of Office Personnel* One respondent reported 25,000 office personnel. One respondenr reported 56,000 office personnel. 1415 65 Figure 4-9. Total number of of fice personnel (28 replies) Seventeen firms provided data on the total number of office hours worked in 2008. The responses ranged from 76,000 hours to 100 million hours (F igure 4-10). The average number of office hours worked per year was 9.17 million hours with a median of 865,000 office hours worked. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 ResponsesTotal Number of Office Hours Worked (Millions)* One respondent reported 20,000,000 office hours. One respondent reported 100,000,000 office hours. 76,000 200,000 Figure 4-10. Total number of of fice hours worked (17 replies)

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40 Fourteen firms provided information on their office RIR. The office RIR consists of the number of OSHA recordable injuries sustained by office personnel per 200,000 hours of office work. The responses r anged from 0 to 0.65 (Figure 4-11). Eight respondents indicated that their office RIR was 0. The average office RIR reported was 0.07 with a median office RIR of 0. 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 ResponsesOffice RIR Eight respondents reported an RIR of 0. Figure 4-11. RIR of office personnel (14 replies) Twenty-seven firms provided information on the type of hours they regularly included in their RIR calculat ions. There were 12 distinct answer choice combinations received for this question. The most frequent combination (21 responses) was direct hire field workers and office personnel both onsite and off-site. The next most common combination consisted of all company perso nnel and subcontractors. This was followed

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41 by companies that included all on-site co mpany personnel and subcontractors. These combinations both received the same frequency of responses. It should be noted that figure 4-12 shows the number of times that each response was selected, but does not illustrate the frequency of response combinations. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Direct hire field employeesOffice personnel working at the project site Office personnel assigned to the project but working out of another office SubcontractorsNumber of Responses Figure 4-12. Which groups are included in RIR calculations? (27 replies) Thirty-one firms provided data on the frequen cy that facility owners request that RIR data isolate the hours of fi eld workers. Note that 65% of the respondents reported that 1 to 20% of the owner s requested that field hours be isolated on projects to be undertaken (Figure 4-13). Ten percent of the respondents repo rted that owners requested field hours to be isolated on 21-40% of the projects under taken. Six percent of the respondents reported that owners requested that fi eld hours be isolated on 4160% of projects undertaken. Six percent of the respondents re ported that owners

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42 requested that field hours be isolated on 61-80% of the projects undertaken. Thirteen percent of respondents report ed that owners requested that field hours be isolated on 81-100% of the projects undertaken. 0 5 10 15 20 25 1-20% 21% 40% 41% 60% 61% 80% 81% 100%Percent of Projects Number of Responses Figure 4-13. How often do owners request in formation on RIRs that isolate field workers from office personnel? (31 replies) Additional Analysis Additional analys is was conducted on the survey responses to identify any relationships that existed between company characteristics / practices and the resultant RIR values. When comparing companies that had less than 50% field hours (over 50% were office personnel) with companies who h ad over 90% field hours, some interesting results were obtained. The companies with less than 50% field hours had an average RIR of 0.96 with a median RIR of 0.57. On the other hand, the companies with more than 90% field hours in their calculations reported an average RIR of 2.53 with a median

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43 of 1.33. While the medi an RIR of 1.33 seems re spectable, it is considerably higher than the median RIR of 0.57. The safety performances of the respondent s were examined in terms of the sizes of the firms. Table 4-1 shows the median values of the data reported. The respondents who reported an annual volume of construction wo rk put in place of over a billion dollars had an overall average RIR of 1.20 with a median of 0.91. The average number of hours worked was 35.6 million with a median of 18.5 million hours. Of those, the median number of field hours was 6.56 million and the median number of office hours was 7.25 million. These companies repor ted a median field RIR of 0.80 and a median office RIR of 0.02. Approximately 54% of these respondents reported that owner s asked that the reported RIR isolate field hours on le ss than 20% of projects undertaken. Table 4-1. Characteristics of firms with annual volume great er than $1 billion Median hours worked Median RIR Median field hours Median field RIR Median office hours Median office RIR 18.5 Million 0.91 6.56 Milli on 0.80 7.25 Million 0.02 The respondents who reported an annual volu me of construction work put in place of less than a billion dollars had an average RIR of 1.99 with a median of 1.6, table 4-2 shows the median va lues of the data reported. The average number of hours worked was 3.8 million with a median of 3.5 million. Of those hours, the median number of field hours was 3.15 million and the m edian number of office hours was 300,000. These companies reported a median field RIR of 1.72 and a median office RIR of 0.03. Approximately 77% of these respondents reported that owner s asked that the reported RIR isolate field hours on less t han 20% of projects undertaken.

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44 Table 4-2. Characteristics of firms with annual volume less than $1 billion Median hours worked Median RIR Median field hours Median field RIR Median office hours Median office RIR 3.5 Million 1.6 3.15 M illion 1.72 300,000 0.03 The average number of hours worked per worker in this study was 2307 hours per year. The median was 2135 hours worked per year per worker. This was computed by dividing the number of fiel d hours worked by the number of field workers employed. It is recognized that this results in approx imate values. When examining the survey results that reported that the hours worked per year was between 2000 and 3000 hours, the mean overall RIR was 3.04 and the mean field RIR was found to be 4.02. Conversely, when the hours worked per worker per year were less than 2000 the mean overall RIR was 1.25 and the mean field RIR was computed to be 0.98. 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 % Office Hours < 25%% Office Hours > 25%RIR Figure 4-15. RIR based on per centage of office hours Further analysis on these RIR data indicated that as the percentage of office hours increases, the overall RIR decreases. This had a Pearson correlation of -0.32 and was

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45 significant at the 0.04 level. Of 16 com panies reporting RIR data, there were eight cases where the percentage of office hours worked was less than 25%. The median RIR for these companies was 1.68 (Figure 4-15). There were eight cases where the percentage of office hours was greater t hen 25%. These companies reported a median office RIR of 0.51. Overall RIR Overall RIR Overall RIR Field RIR Field RIR Field RIR 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Specialty ContractorGeneral ContractorDesign-BuildRIR Figure 4-16. RIRs of va rious contractor types Additional analysis was performed on the safety performance of the responding companies based on the type of c ontractor (Figure 416). It was found that contractors who classified themselves as specialty c ontractors had the highest average RIRs of all of the categories. The average overall RIR for specialty contractors was 4.07. The average field RIR for specialty contractors was 5.75. Respondents who classified their firms as a general contractor had an overall RIR of 1.5. General contractors had an average field RIR of 1.07. Respondents who cl assified their firms as Design-Build had

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46 the lowest average RIR of all three groups analyzed. The average RIR for design-build firms was 0.68. The aver age field RIR was 0.86.

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47 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS There is considerable variability in the co mputation of the OSHA RIR. This is a signific ant factor in the measurement and r eporting of previous safety performances. This variability creates an i naccurate measure of safety performance when comparing firms based on their recordable in jury rates. This is because there is not consistent and uniform method of determining ex actly which hours are to be included in the calculation. The OSHA guidelines for dete rmining the number of hours wo rked are stated as follows include hours worked by salaried, hourly, pa rt-time and seasonal work ers, as well as hours worked by other workers subject to day to day supervision by your establishment (OSHA 2009). This loose definit ion lends itself to variability in the computation of the RIR. Firms may be complying with the OSHA guidelines for computing the RIR, but misleading values of the RIR are generated. For example, as a construction manager who manages a jobsite where various subcontractors are performing work, there is no documented criteria for determining if the hours of subcontractors should be includ ed in the CMs (construction manager) RIR. Furthermore, the results of this study have s hown that contractors that employ a greater percentage of field workers are at a disadvantage when co mpared to contractors who employ few or no field workers. This is bec ause less field workers employed results in less exposure to jobsite haz ards and thus a lower recordable injury rate. The percentage of field workers employ ed by companies participating in the survey ranged from a low of 0% to a high of 97%. Comparing these companies based on their computed RIR values could lead to a misleading assumption that one company is safer than the other. The results of analyzing companies that employed less than

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48 50% field workers compared to companies that employed greater than 90% field workers clearly illustrated this point. Compani es with less than 50% field workers had a median RIR of 0.57 while companies with greater than 90% field employees had a median RIR of 1.33. The criteria for comparing comp anies based on the RIR would be more valid if the RIR calculation was based on field hours only. This would provide a more accurate indication of a contractors safety performance in the field without including the hours of personnel who are never exposed to jobsite hazards. It would also even the playing field when evaluati ng contractors who employ a large percentage of field workers. One of the objectives of this research was to examine the amount of variability in the calculation of the OSHA RIR. The resear ch findings show that owners generally ask that RIRs isolate field hours from offi ce hours on less than 20% of the projects undertaken by contractors. This finding represents a clear indi cation that facility owners are uneducated about the curr ent practices of the calculati on of the OSHA RIR. It also indicates that facility owners are unaware that the isolation of field hours would produce a more accurate measure of safety performanc e as well as allow for the comparison of competing contractors on an equal basis. Analysis of this research also yielded some additional unexpected findings. When analyzing the data for the number of hours worked per worker compared to the reported overall RIR, it was found that the RIR was significantly lower when fewer hours were worked. This shows that safety performance is impacted by the amount of overtime that is worked. There were significantly higher injury rates among those firms that reported

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49 more overtime being worked by their fiel d employees. Furthermore, when these data were analyzed to isolate field hours, t he results were even more polarized. Research Recommendations This research has revealed several intere sting findings in the area of calculating the OSHA RIR. These findings are believ ed to be representative of a large segment of the construction industry. In future resear ch, the use of a larger sample size is recommended to create a more thorough and accurate indication of the current practices in the field. Furthermore, this survey could be re-developed to target specific industry segments and contractor types. Fo r example, a study of how general contractors and construction managers compute t heir RIR with a focus on the criteria for the inclusion of subcontractor hours would probably yield interesti ng results. Another area of study might be a survey of owner s perceptions and practices on collecting safety performance data and in making comparisons between co ntractors. Industry Recommendations The construction industry has advanced in the collection and reporting of safety performance data. These data are used fo r a variety of purposes, including the calculation of insurance premiums by insurance companies and the selection of contractors by facilitie s owner s. This research has the mo st potential benefit to both facilities owners and contract ors who are seeking to use the most accurate data available to measure past safety perfo rmance. Facilities ow ners are encouraged to understand and question the RIRs that contractors are repor ting to them. Furthermore, facilities owners are also encouraged to request that contractors isolate field hours from office hours when reporting RIR values. This produces a more accurate measure of safety performance. Contractors are also encouraged to voluntarily report their field

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50 recordable injury rates. Reporting an RIR value that represents the safety performance of field personnel only present s a strategic advantage to cont ractors who employ higher percentages of field personnel.

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51 APPENDIX A SURVEY COVER LETTER Statement to be Read to Participants To: Potential Study Participants Subject: RIR Computation Survey We, the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Cons truction at the University of Fl orida, are conducting a study in the United States concerning RIR calcul ation. The focus of the study is to examine current practices compiling the hours worked portion of a firms RIR To conduct this study, a variety of questions will be asked about your firms practices related to calculating RIR. There are no risks associated wit h participating in this study and the survey can be completed in about five minutes. A copy of the results summary can be provided at your request to any interested participants. Please send requests to the contact information listed below. Natura lly, you are asked to answer only those questions that you feel comfortable in answering. Your individual responses will be kept strictly confidential to the extent provided by law. Research data will be summarized so that t he identity of indivi dual participants will be concealed. No compensation will be provided for your participation. You have our sincere thanks for participat ing in the valuable study. Sincerely, Thomas Cobb Building Construction Graduate Student Phone: (786) 385-9232 Fax: (352) 392-4537 Email: Thomas.W.Cobb@gmail.com Dr. Jimmie Hinze Professor, Director of t he Center for Construction Safety and Loss Control M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction University of Florida Phone: (352) 273-1167 Fax: (352) 3924537 Email: hinze@ufl.edu P.S. For information about participant rights please contact the University of Florida Institutional Review Board at ( 352) 392-0433 or Email: IRB2@ufl.edu.

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52 APPENDIX B RIR COMPUTATION SURVEY

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54 APPENDIX C OSHA FORMS FOR RECORDING WORK -RELAT ED INJURIES AND ILLNESSES

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66 LIST OF REFERENCES Broderick, T., and Murphy, D. (2001). "C onstruction Safety: A Cruel Oxymoron?" Occupational Health & Safety, 70(10), 68. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities. [updated 10 August 2009; cited 19 August 2009]. Available from http://www.bls.gov/iif/ Business Roundtable, and Construction industry cost effectiveness project. (1982). Im proving construction safety perform ance : a construction industry cost effectiveness project report. Business Roundtable, New York. Courtney, T. K., and Webster, B. S. (2002). "Getting Answers." Prof.Saf., 47(9), 24. Hinze, J., Bren, D. C., and Pi epho, N. (1995). "E xperience Modification Rating As Measure of Safety Performance." Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, 121(4), 455. Hinze, J., Devenport, J. N. and Giang, G. (2006). "Analysis of Construction Worker Injuries That Do Not Re sult in Lost Time." Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, 132(3), 321-326. Hinze, J., and Gambatese, J. (2003). "Facto rs That Influence Safety Performance of Specialty Contractors." Journal of Construction E ngineering & Management, 129(2), 159. Hoonakker, P., Loushine, T., Carayon, P., Kallman, J., Kapp, A ., and Smith, M. J. (2005). "The effect of safety initiative s on safety performance: A longitudinal study." Appl.Ergon., 36(4), 461-469. Lupo, P. (2009). "We Need Pe rsonal Safety Records." ENR: Engineering News-Record, 262(11), 67-67. Nwaelele, O. D. (1996). "Prudent owners take proactive approach." Prof.Saf., 41(4), 27. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. About OSHA Page. [updated 4 April 2009; cited 15 August 2009]. Available from www.osha.gov/about.html Petersen, D. (2005). "Setting G oals Measuring Performance." Prof.Saf., 50(12), 43-48. Prevette, S S. (2006). "Charting Safe ty Performance. (Cover story)." Prof.Saf., 51(5), 34-41.

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67 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Thomas Cobb was born in Miami, Florida in 1985. He graduated from Coral Gables High School in 2003 and began attending the University of Florida in the Fall of 2003. Thomas earned his bachelors degree in criminology in 2007 and began attending the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Cons truction in 2008. Thomas has worked as an assistant superintendent for Austin Commercial and as an intern for Suffolk Construction. Upon receiving his masters degree in build ing construction, Thomas is plans to begin his career in the construction industry as an assistant superintendent.