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

Diana Kachan, Lora E. Fleming, William G. Leblanc, Elizabeth Goodman, Kristopher L. Arheart, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, Tainya C. Clarke, Manuel A. Ocasio, Sharon Christ, David J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Age groups
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • Occupational health
  • Workplace injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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