BACKGROUND: Work-related injury rates in the fire service industry exceed those for most other industries, however little is known about the cost of injury to firefighters. METHODS: This is a preliminary investigation of detailed worker's compensation records of firefighter injuries, 1,343 claims in all, collected from 1992-1999. Summary statistics and regression analysis regarding the cause, nature, and cost of injury to firefighters are presented. RESULTS: Overexertion accounted for a significant portion (over 1/3) of injuries to firefighters, typically involved injuries to the back, and was associated with significantly higher costs than other types of injuries. The per-claim average worker's compensation cost of injury to firefighters was $5,168 and the average for injuries caused by overexertion was $9,715. CONCLUSIONS: Overexertion is a costly source of injury to firefighters that can likely be reduced through policy intervention.
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