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Work-related upper-extremity amputations in Norway.

Samant Y; Parker D; Wergeland E; Westin S
Am J Ind Med 2012 Mar; 55(3):241-249
Traumatic work-related injuries cause an estimated 350,000 fatalities worldwide annually [Hamalainen et al., 2006]. In 2001, Sorock et al., reported the annual incidence rate of work-related hand injuries in seven manufacturing environments around the world ranged from 4 to 11 per 100 workers [Sorock et al., 2001]. Studies over the past decade reveal that traumatic hand injuries in general and upper-extremity amputations in particular continue to present a significant challenge globally [Liang et al., 2004; Anderson et al., 2010; Ostlie et al., 2011]. The majority of traumatic hand injuries at work are attributed to machines and tools [Boyle et al., 2000a; Liang et al., 2004; Jin et al., 2010]. Every year, about 25,000 injuries are registered in the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority's (NLIAs) Registry of Work-related Injuries (RWI) [NLIA, 2007]. This includes traumatic amputations which account for fewer than 1% of all the injuries. While rare, work-related amputations have serious social and economic implications for the workers and their families. Depending on the severity of amputation, they may require intensive acute medical care as well as protracted rehabilitation [O'Sullivan and Colville, 1993; Wald and Alvaro, 2004]. A recent Norwegian study based on self-reported data by amputees at a prosthetics clinic found that 41% (n = 89) of upper-extremity amputations were work-related [Ostlie et al., 2011]. The Association of Norwegian Private Insurance Companies (ANPIC) reports that the average compensation for an upper-extremity amputation in 2007 was approximately NOK 97,000 (USD 18,000). This amount is about twice the average compensation for all work-related injuries [ANPIC, 2010]. The European Union's report on work-related injuries notes that traumatic amputations accounted for the highest average number of days lost from work (n = 102 days) compared to other work-related injuries [European Commission, 2009]. The Norwegian Ministry of Health recently launched a national strategy for injury prevention with a sub-focus on work-related injuries [Ministry of Health, 2009]. The strategy cites the social and economic costs of injuries as major concerns. Moreover, it indicates a need for evidence-based interventions to limit the risk and severity of injuries. The effectiveness of preventive interventions cannot be determined unless the distribution of injuries in a population has been characterized. Despite the serious consequences of amputations and a current national focus on injury prevention, there is a paucity of epidemiological studies describing the nature and incidence of work-related upper-extremity amputations in Norway. In fact, very little is known about potential risk factors associated with such traumatic injuries or the best hazard control measures [Parker et al., 2009]. The aim of this study is to characterize the work-related upper-extremity amputations data reported to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority's Registry for Work-Related Injuries.
Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Body-regions; Extremities; Work-environment; Workers; Hand-injuries; Arm-injuries; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Machine-shop-workers; Machine-tools; Machinists; Equipment-operators; Tools; Power-tools; Pneumatic-tools; Sociological-factors; Prosthetic-devices; Disabled-workers; Lost-work-days; Injury-prevention; Surveillance-programs; Author Keywords: upper-extremity; amputations; work-related; norway; injuries
Yogindra Samant, MD, MPH, Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, Statens Hus, 7468 Trondheim, Norway
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-003884; B02292012
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
Park Nicollet Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division