University of Tennessee

Construction Center Caps Research With Occupational Health and Safety Reports

November 5, 2019

The Construction Industry Research and Policy Center (CIRPC) in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, recently completed a three-year project to improve occupational health and safety in Tennessee and beyond. The project’s reports cap CIRPC’s research, which was sponsored by a $600,000 grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 

Using data from 300,000 Tennessee workers’ compensation claims from 2014-16, the CIRPC produced five reports for the project, including a comprehensive report detailing claim counts and rates for nearly 300 separate industries as well as aggregating injuries by their proximate cause (e.g., lifting), type (e.g., strain) and body part (e.g., back). 

The research team also examined the relationship between injuries and new employees, determining that nearly 39 percent of all claims were made by employees in their first year of employment with a firm. 

“Somewhat surprisingly, the correlation extended to older, more experienced employees when they joined a new firm,” said Edward Taylor, CIRPC executive director.

To examine new employee vulnerability further, the researchers issued individual reports for the transportation, healthcare and manufacturing industries. These reports detail the characteristics of new employee injuries versus those of more seasoned workers. A fifth report uses the claims data for an in-depth look at the temporary help services industry, where injury surveillance using traditional reporting systems is not feasible. 

“The end goal is a safer workplace and a healthier Tennessee,” Taylor said.

For a better understanding of the most hazardous industries as well as the most frequent causes and types of fatal and non-fatal injuries, policy makers and stakeholders in safety and health can access the portfolio of reports.

The CIRPC’s mission included providing quality research, service and education to public and private organizations and communities, emphasizing construction safety and health and a broad scope of employment matters.


Contact: Edward

Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist, 865-974-7881,