Types and Factors Affecting Injury Rates of Mechanical Contractors

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Journal of Work


BACKGROUND: In the United States, about 38,000 cases of nonfatal workplace injuries were reported in 2015, in the category of ‘mechanical work’ (plumbing, heating, and air conditioning); this is nearly identical to the number of cases reported under ‘building construction’. OBJECTIVE: This paper analyzes the types and rates of injuries and illnesses of mechanical contractors of southern Nevada, including the nature of the injuries and illnesses, body parts affected by injuries, causes of injuries, and factors affecting the injury rates. METHODS: To obtain data, a survey consisting of questions regarding the number of injuries and types of injuries was conducted with 31 mechanical contractors of southern Nevada involved in plumbing, piping, heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. RESULTS: The injury rate for larger mechanical contractors (n=16), in terms of number of employees and annual revenue, was significantly lower than for smaller mechanical contractors (n=15). Mechanical contractors who worked on residential buildings (n=13) had significantly higher rates of injuries than those involved with industrial (n=7) or commercial buildings (n=10). Results showed that sprains and strains (31%) were dominant injuries, and the major causes were from parts and materials (39%), hand tools (16%), contact with objects (14%), and falls (7%). CONCLUSIONS: The study concluded that the injury rate for these mechanical contractors was found to be higher than that reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for specialty trade contractors.



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