One thousand fourteen respondents with upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders (UECTDs) were surveyed about the physical, social and economic consequences to themselves and their families; about the sources of, payment for, and satisfaction with their medical care; and about risk-reduction activities undertaken by employers in response to their injuries, both for themselves and for co-workers. Computer aided telephone survey instruments gathering information on activities of daily living, depression, employment, occupational conditions, medical care, and employer risk- reduction activities were designed and used to collect this data. Fifty-three to 81 % of UECTD injured workers suffered long term consequences to their ability to function normally, between 25% and 38% lost jobs held 9 to 11 years on average, and 26% to 31 % reported depressive symptoms. Health care insurance and claimants themselves paid for much of the medical care. Among workers with work- related UECTD injuries requiring medical care found in private patient lists and from the lists of high- risk-unionized workers, less than one third had medical bills paid by workers' compensation. Injured workers were more satisfied with care if they could choose the physician. Around half of the employers responded to the injury with some action to reduce risk of further injury, and they were more likely to take these actions if a safety committee was present, and especially if a physician recommended the risk- reduction activity. Being in a female sex-typical job exposes the worker to higher UECTD risks, and decreases the likelihood that the employer will have a mechanism in place (safety committee) to promote prevention. Physician involvement in the design of work for injured workers, and workplace safety committees can promote working conditions that are less likely to cause or worsen UECTDs, avoiding the long lasting consequences workers, and the expense to society at large.
School of Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland