Department of Public Health Sciences

Costs differences across demographic groups and types of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Leigh JP, Waehrer G, Miller TR, McCurdy SA

Am J Ind Med. . 2006. 49(10):845-853.

Little is known about cost differences for demographic groups or across occupational injuries and illnesses. METHODS: In this incidence study of nationwide data for 1993, an analysis was conducted on fatal and non-fatal injury and illness data recorded in government data sets. Costs data were from workers' compensation records, estimates of lost wages, and jury awards. RESULTS: The youngest (age < or = 17) and oldest (age > or = 65) workers had exceptionally high fatality costs. Whereas men's costs for non-fatal incidents were nearly double those for women, men's costs for fatal injuries were 10 times the costs for women. The highest ranking occupation for combined fatal and non-fatal costs--farming, forestry, and fishing--had costs-per-worker (5,163 US dollars) over 18 times the lowest ranking occupation-executives and managers (279 US dollars). The occupation of handlers, cleaners, and laborers, ranked highest for non-fatal costs. Gunshot wounds generated especially high fatal costs. Compared to whites, African-Americans had a lower percentage of costs due to carpal tunnel syndrome, circulatory, and digestive diseases. CONCLUSIONS: Costs comparisons can be drawn across age, race, gender, and occupational groups as well as categories of injuries and illnesses.

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