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A case-crossover pilot study of slips, trips, and falls in health care workers.

Sorock-GS; Wellman-HM; Lombardi-DA; Courtney-TK; Collins-JW; Bell-JL; Wolf-L; Gronqvist-R
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :75
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 1998 that slips, trips and falls (STF) account for the third largest proportion (20%) of non-fatal occupational injuries in private industry. Among health care workers in hospitals, the incidence rate of lost work-day injuries from STFs was 50% higher than the rate for all private industry (40.8 vs. 27.0 per 10,000 FTEs). We therefore began a case-crossover study to describe the circumstances of STFs in the hospital environment and to evaluate the role of potential transient risk factors in their occurrence. Health-care workers who reported a STF to the occupational health department in four mid-western hospitals were recruited into the study. Fifty-one subjects were interviewed by telephone. Eighty-eight percent were women with a mean age (SD) of 45 (12.3). Most subjects were nurses (47%), clerks/registrars (16%) or housekeeping staff (12%). Forty-three subjects (84%) reported falling preceded by a slip (44%), a trip (28%), neither (16%) or both a slip and a trip (12%). Of 51 STF events, pain (27%) and contusions (25%) were the most common injury outcomes; five subjects (10%) reported a fracture. Sixty-three percent of the STFs occurred while walking in a transitional area, e.g., from wet to dry or dry to wet surfaces (33%), one type of floor surface to another (24%), or even-to-uneven surfaces (18%). The percent of subjects exposed to transient risk factors at the time of the STF were compared with the total person-time exposed to each factor in the previous work month. Preliminary analysis suggests that walking on a different pathway than usual, on contaminated floors (most often water or cleaning solutions), and being distracted or rushing may increase the risk of a STF in the hospital setting. The case-crossover design is a feasible method for studying the determinants of STF events.
Health-care; Health-care-personnel; Workers; Medical-personnel; Injuries; Occupational-accidents; Risk-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Injury-prevention
Publication Date
Document Type
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania