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Am J Ind Med. 2012 Apr;55(4):361-6. doi: 10.1002/ajim.21994. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Worker populations at risk for work-related injuries across the life course.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1120 NW 14th Street, Miami, FL 33136, USA.



Workplace injuries can have a substantial economic impact. Rates of workplace injuries differ across age groups, yet occupations/industry sectors at highest risk within age groups have not been identified. We examined workplace injury risk across industry sectors for three age groups using nationally representative U.S. data.


Data from 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were pooled for employed adults by age groups: (1) 18-25 (n = 22,261); (2) 26-54 (n = 121,559); and (3) 55+ (n = 24,851). Workplace injury risk comparisons were made using logistic regression, with the Services sector as the referent and adjustment for sample design, gender, education, race/ethnicity, age, and income-to-poverty ratio.


Overall 3-month injury prevalence was 0.88%. Highest risk sectors for workers aged 18-25 included: Agriculture/forestry/fisheries (odds ratio = 4.80; 95% confidence interval 2.23-10.32), Healthcare/social assistance (2.71; 1.50-4.91), Construction (2.66; 1.56-4.53), Manufacturing (2.66; 1.54-4.61); for workers 26-54: Construction (2.30; 1.76-3.0), Agriculture/forestry/fisheries (1.91; 1.16-3.15), and Manufacturing (1.58; 1.28-1.96); for workers 55+: Agriculture/forestry/fisheries (3.01; 1.16-7.81), Transportation/communication/other public utilities (2.55; 1.44-4.49), and Construction (2.25; 1.09-4.67).


Agriculture/forestry/fisheries and Construction were among the sectors with highest workplace injury risk for workers across all age groups. Differences in highest risk industries were identified between the youngest and oldest industry groups. Our results indicate a need for age-specific interventions in some industries, and a need for more comprehensive measures in others.

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