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Report Tackles Worker Health Issues

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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Nearly a third of construction workers lack health insurance despite half experiencing at least one doctor-diagnosed health condition, according to a recent report.

In “Health, Healthcare, and Medical Expenditures among Construction Workers,” the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) analyzed data collected between 2012 and 2014 as part of a household survey conducted by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The nonprofit organization came away with a handful of key findings in regard to construction workers and the health/insurance issues they face.

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During the study period, the construction industry accounted for about 6.3 percent of the U.S. workforce with 9.4 million workers employed annually.

“Understanding overall health status of construction workers, accessibility to care, and cost containment, and being alert to emerging issues that can affect these elements, will help ensure that workers are afforded accessible, high quality, and cost-effective care,” the report states.

“Moreover, identifying and measuring health problems and the associated costs can motivate construction workers and the public to take these problems more seriously, and help policy makers to formulate health policies and allocate medical resources efficiently.”

Key Findings

During the study period, the construction industry accounted for about 6.3 percent of the U.S. workforce with 9.4 million workers employed annually.

However, the report found that these workers were twice as likely to be uninsured than workers in all other industries (31.3 percent compared to 14.4 percent), and even though nearly a third of construction workers didn't have health insurance, 50.1 percent reported having at least one doctor-diagnosed health condition.

Among these diagnosed conditions, high blood pressure was at the top of the list with 28.1 percent of workers, followed by high cholesterol at 23.4 percent. Both of these health conditions are correlated to obesity, according to the National Institute of Health, and in general, construction workers are heavier than the overall workforce.

Between 2012 and 2014, 74.5 percent of construction workers were either overweight or obese, the report said.

Regardless of insurance coverage, construction workers with coronary heart diseases (which can also be related to obesity) had the highest medical expenditures at $13,079 per year, showing that a health concern of construction workers can directly turn into medical expenditures with a third of the construction workforce uninsured.

The report claims that these numbers provided insight for researchers and policymakers to identify the vulnerable groups that lack health care access, and the risk factors that are associated with costly medical expenditures.

The CPWR is committed to the health and safety of U.S. construction workers.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Construction; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Health Care/Hospitals; North America; Personnel; Research; Trends; Workers

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