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Surveillance of work-related cold injuries using workers' compensation claims.

Sinks-T; Mathias-CG; Halperin-W; Timbrook-C; Newman-S
J Occup Med 1987 Jun; 29(6):504-509
A study was made of the usefulness of workers' compensation claims for the surveillance of occupational injuries. Claims submitted for cold injury were used as the test case as these injuries usually resulted from exposure to extreme cold and were easily recognizable and documentable. The 1983 Supplementary Data System (SDS) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Division of Safety and Hygiene (DSH) of the Industrial Commission of Ohio were used as the data sources for this investigation. SDS data yielded a total of 510 claims (nationwide), and DSH data, 147 claims (Ohio only). The greatest injury rates in both data sets involved eight industries: the oil and gas industry; trucking and warehousing; protective services; interurban and local transportation; electric, gas and sanitation; auto repair and garage services; food and kindred products; and heavy construction. Information in the DSH revealed that the rate of injury increased as the wind speed increased, being 80 times higher on a single day when wind speeds exceeded 20 miles per hour compared with days when average wind speeds ranged from 5 to 9 miles per hour. It was also found that 56 percent of Ohio injuries occurred on only 9 of 196 winter days, those 9 days representing three periods of extreme cold. The expected daily injury rate was 0.5, while 26 injuries were reported for the coldest day. The authors conclude that use of claims for workers' compensation adequately reflect the expected association of environmental factors and incidence of cold injury.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Temperature-effects; Cold-environments; Cold-stress; Information-retrieval-systems; Cold-weather-operations; Construction-workers; Food-processing-workers; Transportation-workers; Truck-drivers; Automobile-repair-shops
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Journal of Occupational Medicine