Contractor-, steward-, and coworker-safety practice: Associations with musculoskeletal pain and injury-related absence among construction apprentices

Seung Sup Kim, Lauren M. Dutra, Cassandra A. Okechukwu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This paper sought to assess organizational safety practices at three different levels of hierarchical workplace structure and to examine their association with injury outcomes among construction apprentices. Methods: Using a cross-sectional sample of 1,775 construction apprentices, three measures of organizational safety practice were assessed: contractor-, steward-, and coworker-safety practice. Each safety practice measure was assessed using three similar questions (i.e., on-the-job safety commitment, following required or recommended safe work practices, and correcting unsafe work practices); the summed average of the responses ranged from 1 to 4, with a higher score indicating poorer safety practice. Outcome variables included the prevalence of four types of musculoskeletal pain (i.e., neck, shoulder, hand, and back pain) and injury-related absence. Results: In adjusted analyses, contractor-safety practice was associated with both hand pain (OR: 1.27, 95 % CI: 1.04, 1.54) and back pain (OR: 1.40, 95 % CI: 1.17, 1.68); coworker-safety practice was related to back pain (OR: 1.42, 95 % CI: 1.18, 1.71) and injury-related absence (OR: 1.36, 95 % CI: 1.11, 1.67). In an analysis that included all three safety practice measures simultaneously, the association between coworker-safety practice and injury-related absence remained significant (OR: 1.68, 95 % CI: 1.20, 2.37), whereas all other associations became non-significant. Conclusions: This study suggests that organizational safety practice, particularly coworker-safety practice, is associated with injury outcomes among construction apprentices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The research was supported by grant 1R01 DP000097-01 from the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health. We would like to thank the president, program directors, staff, and apprentices affiliated with the Massachusetts Building Trades Council for their participation in this study. Lauren M. Dutra was supported by NIH Grant number 3R25CA057711-18S1.


  • Back pain
  • Construction worker
  • Hand pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Neck pain
  • Occupational injury
  • Safety practice
  • Shoulder pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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