From 1995 to 2001, a series of NIOSH funded research projects related to construction safety were completed at a developing high technology manufacturing campus near Hillsboro, Oregon (Gibbons and Hecker; Hecker and Gibbons; Hecker, et al(a), (b), (c)). A planned construction project of a semi-conductor manufacturing factory (known as a "Fab"), was set to begin in 2001. This project had program interventions intended to focus on improving safety through design and applying ergonomic principles to construction processes. Based on prior research experiences' indicating a need to improve data, specific information was collected on contractors, craft personnel and injuries to facilitate assessment of the interventions.
Also since 1995, the Owner had arranged for workers compensation insurance coverage for their large construction projects through an OCIP (Owner Controlled Insurance Program). The data from the Workers Compensation records were made available to the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) as the Owner's representative.
In early 2002 during the construction of the new Fab, the CM/GC generated a preliminary report analyzing injuries that had resulted in workers compensation claim costs. In association with the University of Oregon, Labor Education and Research Center through a NIOSH grant, a preliminary report summarized and compared injury types by trade and by standard phases of construction associated with building fabs. The study, titled "OCIP Claims Evaluation: A Comparison of Fab Greenfield Projects", benchmarked the ongoing project against three previous projects. The CM/GC was the same on all four projects and had access to other databases developed to manage the projects. This "OCIP Study" looked at both frequency and medical claim treatment costs as an approximation of injury severity and correlated injuries to project phases between standard schedule milestones. The purpose of this initial study was to provide historical information on types of injuries by trade and related tasks to focus prevention strategies. A final conclusion of this study stated: "Opportunities for further reduction will be enhanced by a deeper understanding of what people were doing, why they were doing it and how they were injured."
In 2002, near the end of the CM/GC scope of work, all reported injuries were evaluated using the employee narratives on the first report of injury. This project, as well as the comparison projects, had on-site nursing for first aid care and off-site referrals where OCIP claim costs were generated. A coding scheme, named Precipitating Event (PE), was created to describe the activities of the injured person at the time of injury. The analysis of PE's for the injuries treated on site as well as those generating claim costs, added insights to the linkages of injury type what the worker was doing at the time of injury.
In 2003, the Owner funded an expanded study to include two additional projects in the PE analysis to improve correlation, strengthen the data set and increase understanding of the linkages between activity and injury. This study, internally titled, "The Three Fab Study" was completed in 2004. Since that time, analysis of the data sets has continued.