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D6.1 The Prevalence and Patterns of Occupational Injury in South Texas Middle School Students-Weller NF, Cooper SP, Tortolero SR, Kelder SH, Hassan S

Introduction: Emerging evidence suggests that substantial numbers of middle school youth are working during the school year. Like their older adolescent counterparts, these youngsters may be at risk for various occupational hazards, including work-related injury, already documented as a substantial public health problem in secondary students. Except for isolated reports of injuries/fatalities among young workers, information about the extent and nature of the work circumstances of these pre- and early-adolescents is scarce. Also sparse are data on the work experiences of special populations of disadvantaged or minority youth from rural geographic areas in the Southwestern U.S. This paper describes the prevalence and patterns of occupational injury in 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from South Texas, where Hispanic and economically-distressed youth are heavily represented.

Methods. Anonymous surveys were conducted in student's regular classrooms in May of 1995 (n=2,965 workers). Self-reported data included typical weekly work hours, work injury, type of injury, and type of job.

Results. Twenty-five percent of employed students reported an occupational injury (n=773). Of the injured, 30% required medical help (n=232). A dose response effect was observed: increasing weekly work hours were significantly related to work injury (1-10 hours, Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.0; 11-20 hours, OR = 1.5; 21 + hours, OR = 2.4), p < 0.0001 for chi-square linear-by-linear association. The likelihood of injury for males (32%) was greater than for females (18%), p < 0.0001. Significant multivariate logistic regression variables included agriculture (OR = 3.3), restaurant work (OR=3.2), construction (OR=2,4), retail work (OR=1.7), working 21+ hours weekly (OR=1.8), and male gender (OR=1.5).

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that intense work during the school-year increased the likelihood of occupational injury in middle schoolers. Parents and professionals should supervise school-year work hours. Increased prevention efforts should be targeted to young workers to reduce and prevent work injuries.


D6.2 The Prevalence and Risk Factors Related to Falls During Pregnancy-Dunning K, Lemasters G, Bhattacharya A, Levin L

Introduction: Although falls during pregnancy are a common cause of injury, there is minimal information regarding risk factors. During pregnancy, physiological changes occur that increase the risk for falls such as weight gain, loosening of ligaments resulting in joint laxity, swelling, and mechanical loading changes. At this time, there is no surveillance system for the pregnant worker and, therefore, little is known about their injuries. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the prevalence rate and risk factors of falls during pregnancy.

Methods: A questionnaire was designed to determine pregnancy fall rate, injuries and medical attention, and risk factors. In order to capture a larger portion of the sample, two methods of questionnaire administration were utilized that include a 15 minute telephone interview and a four page mail survey. In partnership with the Hamilton County General Health District and the Cincinnati Health Department, 700 recent new mothers were identified from their child's birth certificate.

Results: To date, the participation rate is 61.2% (n=429) including 222 by telephone and 207 by mail. Most women, 76.4% (n=328) were employed during pregnancy and of those employed, the fall rate at work was 6.4% (21/328). Overall, 23.8% (102/429) of women reported a fall during pregnancy. When asked the location of their most serious fall, 12.7% (13/102) described their workplace. The highest number of falls (70%) occurred during 6-8 months of gestation. Of the women who fell, 68.6% (70/102) reported injuries and 37.2% (38/102) sought medical attention. Primary factors that the women related to their falls included stairs, a hurried pace, and walking on a slippery surface.

Conclusion: Given that 70% of women over age 20 work during their pregnancy and 6.4% will have a fall while working, there is a need to reduce risks of falls and injuries for this special population.


D6.3 Fatal Occupational Injuries Among Hispanic Workers of Texas-Mireles MC, Richardson S, Herrmann K

This descriptive study examined fatal occupational injuries among Hispanic workers in Texas from 1993 to 1997. For that period, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which is administered in Texas by the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission, provided a comprehensive data set of 2,451 occupational fatality cases in the state, of which 671 (27%) cases involved Hispanic workers. Calculation of crude fatality rates was based on estimated Hispanic workforce from the Current Population Survey. Coding of injuries was standardized by the use of the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System.

The mean age for Hispanic fatal cases was 37, compared to 43 for non-Hispanic cases. Among Hispanic fatalities, wage and salary workers comprised 86% of the total number of fatalities. Specifically, construction laborers represented 30% of the cases. However, a comparison of crude fatality rates by industry showed the highest risk of 58/100,000 for Hispanic workers in mining, followed by 20/100,000 in construction, and 16/100,000 in agriculture. By occupation, operators, fabricators, and laborers cumulatively represented 45% of Hispanic cases, but workers in occupations related to farming, forestry, and fishing had the highest annual average rate of 15/100,000.

Events classified as "highway incidents" accounted for the greatest number of Hispanic fatalities (34%), but the most frequent event attributable to deaths on the job (10%) involved firearms. Being struck by a falling object was the second most frequent event of fatalities (6%). Assaults and violent acts remain a major concern for Hispanic workers, especially women, in the retail trade industry.


D6.4 Reducing Injury Risk of Students in Vocational-technical Schools and Young Workers in Small Businesses-Palassis J, Sweeney Haring M

NIOSH estimates that in USA each year 200,000 adolescent workers suffer work-related injuries. Many States mandate that vocational schools and small businesses have safety and health programs, conduct hazard analysis, and do safety inspections, maintenance, and comply with safety, health, and environmental regulations. To address these needs, NIOSH has taken a leading role to reduce injury risk by increasing safety and health awareness and safety education of vocational school students, teachers, administrators, and small businesses owners. NIOSH in conjunction with Environmental Occupational Health Sciences Institute of NJ developed an occupational and environmental safety checklists program. This program contains instructions on how to establish, implement, and maintain an occupational safety, health, and environmental program within the school and small business. It is comprised of over 80 safety checklists that cover occupational and environmental hazards found at schools and especially in the shops and small businesses. The program helps the user prepare for and participate in OSHA- and EPA-type compliance inspections. It enables the users of the checklists to identify occupational safety and health and environmental hazards and areas that need improvement. It can be utilized by the teachers, students and young workers to help them learn about government regulations pertinent to their shop and workplace. The program provides technical assistance, resources, and guidance to ensure that the school is in compliance with occupational safety and health and environmental regulations. The document is being finalized and will be available in print, CD-ROM, and on the NIOSH web site.


D6.5 A Report on Young Teens Experience With Occupational Health and Safety Issues: A Pilot Study-Simoyi P, Frederick L, Niezen C, Hobbs G

Tens of thousands of young people are seen in hospital emergency departments each year for work-related injuries; some require hospitalization and over 70 die of work-related injuries. Students in the 9th and 10th grades in the three high schools in West Virginia completed one of three pre-tested questionnaires according to their work status (i.e., never worked, currently working, and previously worked). Questions covered topics such as knowledge of child labor laws, perceptions and attitudes toward occupational safety, the nature/extent of on-the-job injuries and exposure to hazards. A total of 1213 (78%) students completed the survey - 14% reported previously working, 4% were currently working and 82% had never worked. We combined the previously and currently working into one group, ever worked, for comparison to those who had never worked.

The ever worked students reported employment mostly during summer months June to August (36%) mainly in recreational facilities (15%), fast food and other restaurants (13%) and construction (9%). The main tasks performed were cleaning (20%), cashier (12%) and construction site (9%). Cuts (30%) burns (14%) and back injuries (8%) were the main injuries reported. Although students recognized some aspects of Child Labor Laws and OSHA, their perceptions of issues such as who is to blame when a teenager is injured was cause for concern. More than 46% of both groups believed that accidents just happen, 37% blamed the teenager and 16% thought the boss was at fault. These results suggest the need for adding an occupational safety and health component to the work-based experience that prepares students for adulthood responsibilities at work.


D6.6 Latino Immigrant Workers in Residential Construction: A Qualitative Study of Risk Factors- Simoyi P, Frederick L, Niezen C, Hobbs G

This presentation will report on the results of a qualitative study of Latino immigrants working in the residential construction industry in North Carolina. A number of studies of immigrant workers have found unusually high injury rates among this population. Limited data from the North Carolina Department of Labor also suggest that Hispanics experience a disproportionate rate of injuries and fatalities on the job. This study examined the possible factors that may contribute to higher injury rates among Latino immigrant workers in construction. Fifty workers were interviewed for the study using a mix of open- and closed-ended questions on issues relating to training, availability of personal protective equipment, workers' knowledge and attitudes about safety, and language barriers.

The study found that a number of factors may contribute to higher injury risks among this population including: 1) lack of regular safety training/information; 2) inadequate communication by employers despite attempts to provide training in Spanish; 3) low education/literacy problems in Spanish as well as English; 4) discriminatory treatment by some employers; 5) workers' perceptions regarding their rights to safe working conditions; 6) workers' lack of knowledge of U.S. safety standards and laws; 7) workers' immigration status and fear of raising safety concerns with employers; and 8) workers' financial needs taking precedence over safety.

We will report on some of the key barriers to job safety identified by study participants and on recommendations that resulted from the research.



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Page last updated: March 2001
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Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research