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Accidents in materials handling at construction sites


  • P. Perttula
  • J. Merjama
  • M. Kiurula
  • H. Laitinen


The aim of this study is to examine those occupational accidents at construction sites that are related to materials handling as compared with all reportable occupational accidents at construction sites. The main concern is to define the kinds of accidents that occur in materials handling. The data were gathered from two sources: a large Finnish construction company and the database of reports of serious occupational accidents (Sammio). One third of all the reported accidents in the studied construction company occurred during materials transfer and 36% of the absenteeism days resulted from these accidents. Materials handling thus caused more serious accidents than other work activities (t = -2.44, df = 351, p < 0.005). Minor accidents were mostly due to over-exertion whereas serious accidents were mostly falling from a height and injuries caused by falling and collapsing objects. The manual transfer of materials caused most of the materials transfer accidents in the company and mechanical transfer most of the serious materials handling accidents. Over-exertion can, therefore, be decreased by reducing manual materials handling. On the other hand, replacing manual transfers with mechanical transfers means that there arises a risk of serious accidents.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Perttula & J. Merjama & M. Kiurula & H. Laitinen, 2003. "Accidents in materials handling at construction sites," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(7), pages 729-736.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:21:y:2003:i:7:p:729-736 DOI: 10.1080/0144619032000087294

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. M. M. Teo & M. Loosemore, 2001. "A theory of waste behaviour in the construction industry," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(7), pages 741-751.
    2. Helen Lingard & Guinevere Gilbert & Peter Graham, 2001. "Improving solid waste reduction and recycling performance using goal setting and feedback," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(8), pages 809-817.
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