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Kentucky begins surveillance of occupational burns.

Scheerer A
J Ky Med Assoc 1998 Jan; 96:76-77
Occupational burns place a tremendous burden on the workforce, the medical community, and employers in Kentucky. In cooperation with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH), the Occupational Injury Prevention Program (OIPP) at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) is establishing a statewide occupational burn surveillance system to identify causes and trends of work-related burns and monitor progress toward reducing these injuries. Funding for this project is provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Case identification began in January 1998 and will continue for 5 years. According to a report from KIPRC, between 1994 and 1996, 52 workers died from burns, explosions or electrocutions. Most of these workers were less than 40 years old. In 1995, 1,195 Workers' Compensation claims were filed for work-related burns; 55 workers were hospitalized. The industries with the most claims were retail trade (34%) and manufacturing (23%). About 68% of the claims resulted in lost work time and 32% resulted in temporary disability. There was an average of 6.4 days lost from work, and the total value for these claims was more than $2.6 million. This initiative for a statewide burn injury surveillance system focuses on identifying risk factors associated with the workplace (e.g., the task, environment, machine, worker) in order to develop injury prevention strategies. Using epidemiologic principles, the specific aims of the project are to: 1. Identify the incidence of burns as an occupational injury (including thermal, electrical, chemical, friction, and radiation burns). 2. Identify trends in burn cases quickly. 3. Develop and implement interventions to reduce the incidence of burn injury. 4. Evaluate the economic savings of interventions. Cases will be identified primarily through hospital burn units, emergency departments, the Kentucky Department of Workers' Claims, Kentucky Employers' Mutual Insurance, and death certificates. KIPRC believes that members of the medical community, most notably private physicians and emergency department personnel, are in an excellent position to notify OIPP of work-related burn cases presenting for treatment; that only through the active involvement of health care providers can this project succeed in identifying and ultimately reducing the incidence of these traumatic injuries; and additionally, that practitioners will be an invaluable part of the project by disseminating prevention information to patients whose work histories indicate a potential for burn injuries. KlPRC advises that data generated from burn surveillance activities will be disseminated to workers and employers, trade organizations, health professionals, public agencies, and the general public via news media. Surveillance is a key component of occupational injury control. It provides baseline data and the opportunity to monitor trends. Over the next 5 years, the occupational burn injury surveillance project will enable KIPRC to identify risk factors for burn injury, implement effective prevention strategies, and reduce the incidence of these costly injuries in Kentucky.
Burns; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health-services; Occupational-accidents; Skin; Skin-exposure; Surveillance-programs; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association
Performing Organization
Kentucky Department of Health Services
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division