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An Analysis of Occupational Burn Injuries in Rhode Island: Workers' Compensation Claims 1998-2002

Irwin Horwitz and Brian McCall

Working Papers from Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus)

Abstract: Background - upational burns have been determined to be a serious public health concern. The analysis of workplace risks and risk factors associated with burns are critical to developing effective interventions in the future. Methods - This study examined accepted Rhode Island workers' compensation claims (n = 5,619) from 1998 to 2002 to assess the rates and risks of occupational burns. Employment data from the Department of Labor's Current Population Survey (CPS) was used for the estimation of claim rates and shift analyses. Results - The overall burn rate was estimated to be 24.3 per 10,000 workers. The claim rate for workers under 25 years of age was almost double that for all other age groups. The average per-claim disability duration for claims requiring indemnity was 167.9 days and average annual total cost of claims was $1,010,166. The highest claim rate identified was for workers in food service occupations and an increased risk was found for chemical burns among evening and night shift workers. Conclusions - Increased interventions are needed to reduce occupational burns in work settings. Particular diligence should be should address occupational burn hazards in restaurant establishments, and preventative measures aimed at young employees and late shift workers.

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