The relationship between macroeconomic and industry-specific business cycle indicators and work-related injuries among Danish construction workers

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Abstract

Objectives

The current study examines and compares the relationship between both macroeconomic and industry-specific business cycle indicators, and work-related injuries among construction workers in Denmark using emergency department (ED) injury data and also officially reported injuries to the Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA).

Methods

The correlations between ED and WEA injury data from the catchment area of Odense University Hospital during the period 1984–2010 were tested separately for variability and trend with two general macroeconomic indicators (gross domestic product and the Danish unemployment rate) and two construction industry-specific indicators (gross value added and the number of employees).

Results

The results show that injury rates increase during economic booms and decrease during recessions. However, the regression coefficients were generally weak for both the ED (range 0.14–0.20) and WEA injuries (range 0.13–0.36). Furthermore, although there is some variability in the strength of the relationship of the different business cycle indicators, the relationships are generally not stronger for the WEA injuries than for the ED injuries, except for general unemployment. Similarly, no substantial differences in strength of relation between industry-specific and macroeconomic indicators were identified.

Conclusions

The study shows that there was no difference in the relationship between business cycle indicators, and WEA and ED injury data. This indicates that changes in reporting behaviour do not seem to play a major role in the relation between the business cycle and workplace injuries in a Danish context.

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