Knowledge is power

CPWR’s new Data Dashboards is a valuable tool for risk management

NRCA and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) have had a partnership since 2014, and CPWR has produced relevant business resources, such as its Construction Chart Book, NRCA members can access free at CPWR’s latest endeavor—Data Dashboards—allows users to sort data for specific needs and could be a game-changer for the construction industry.

A new resource

CPWR’s Data Dashboards contain the most complete data available for all facets of the U.S. construction industry, including demographic, education and training, economic, employment and income, and safety and health. Data Dashboards is a comprehensive, convenient data tool that can be used by contractors, risk managers and safety managers to access and sort data, such as:

  • Characteristics of Construction Businesses
  • Construction Employment Projections
  • Construction Employment Trends
  • Construction Establishments by Payroll Status
  • Construction Fatality Map
  • Construction Focus Four
  • Construction Payroll Establishments and Employees
  • Construction Worker Mental Health
  • Construction Workers’ Income and Benefits
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • Demographics of Construction Business Owners
  • Healthcare and Medical Expenditures among Construction Workers
  • Hispanic Employment
  • OSHA Inspections and Citations in Construction
  • Severe Injuries
  • Women in Construction

Developed by CPWR’s Data Center, Data Dashboards will be updated regularly with the latest information.

Sorting data

An easy-to-use format allows Data Dashboard users to select filters to categorize and query data based on users’ needs. Data can be sorted using a variety of categories such as occupation, state and year. Depending on the information requested, other filters may appear that can be selected to further hone output.

Another notable feature is the information icon, which gives a brief description of and instructions for each dashboard, including different filters that can be used, major categories of measurement and definitions. This feature helps a user determine which dashboard is best suited for his or her needs. Once filters have been selected and a dashboard is engaged, all information, including charts, graphs and data, is available for download.

Because data found in the charts is tabulated by CPWR’s Data Center staff, footnotes may be present showing how the information was derived to better help users understand, use and determine compatibility between sources of information.

Putting data to use

Although many industry professionals can benefit from using Data Dashboards, risk managers may find the information in the Construction Fatality Map, Construction Focus Four, OSHA Inspections and Citations in Construction, and Severe Injuries dashboards particularly useful for analyzing health and safety trends.

For example, on a recent data pull, I easily was able to download information about cases that was unavailable via the Bureau of Labor Statistics website such as local and national newspaper clips and TV news reports. Given the scope of data and numerous ways to sort it, the potential uses are seemingly endless. Users can compare data from different industries, years and type of injury, among many other options.

Roofing workers face a variety of potential hazards on job sites every day. NRCA’s Health and Safety Committee’s efforts to build awareness and develop programs to improve health and safety have led to improvements. However, the number of injuries and fatalities continues to grow with a high percentage caused by falls to a lower level, according to data from Chicago-based insurance company CNA.

Data Dashboards combine data from ongoing Occupational Safety and Health Administration fatality investigations and online media sources gathered since 2011. The dashboards do not contain 100% of all construction fatalities but do provide detailed geographic information and other lesser known sources of information about the recorded fatalities (see Figure 1).

On the Construction Fatality Map dashboard, I was able to break down fatalities using specific filters, including address and year. The information derived from the filters also included more detailed data such as basic accident information (employer, date, time, accident description) and worker information (age, gender, occupation). For example, I could access newspaper articles and news clips from local news stations—information not typically available in fatality reports—that can help users better understand accident and fatality root causes.

Roofing remains one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. with an alarmingly high percentage of on-the-job deaths. A large number of fatalities result from what has become known as the Construction Focus Four hazards: falls, struck-by, electrocutions and caught-in/between. Fatality data is maintained and updated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the Construction Focus Four dashboard, data can be manipulated by users into various formats.

For example, users can create bar charts to show fatality counts by year, and pie charts can provide fatality distribution by injury type and major subsector (including specialty trades like roofing) for the years selected (see Figure 2).

Additional recent data regarding construction worker safety and health, mental health issues and the effects of COVID-19 also is available. The COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in the U.S. labor force and business practices, partly because of high rates of nonfatal and fatal illnesses. As a result, many roofing companies improved workplace safety by implementing practices such as mask wearing, social distancing and offering flexible absenteeism policies not seen before the pandemic.

Data Dashboards provide information about the effects of COVID-19 in the construction industry, including how companies spend money, employment changes, small-business trends, OSHA inspections and citations, and worker safety and health. As seen in the COVID-19 Vaccinations dashboard, employment in the construction industry fell 10% between the first and second quarters of 2020 but soon rebounded and was 4% higher during the first quarter of 2022 than the first quarter of 2020 (see Figure 3).

An important tool

Data Dashboards take much of the work out of data collection by gathering and filtering large quantities of information for consumption and analysis. By making available relevant information in one location and allowing users to filter results for their needs, hours that were once spent collecting data now can be devoted to analyzing data to find important trends. Data Dashboards allow risk managers and other users to focus on the essential task of improving construction worker safety for years to come.

To access CPWR’s Data Dashboards, go to 

RICH TREWYN is an NRCA director of enterprise risk management.


Be the first to comment. Please log in to leave a comment.