Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2000;26(6):523-528    pdf


Predictors of first nonfatal occupational injury following employment in a Brazilian steelworks

by Barreto SM, Swerdlow AJ, Schoemaker MJ, Smith PG

Objectives This study investigated the influence of sociodemographic and occupational factors on the risk of 1st injury among Brazilian steelworkers.

Methods Workers 1st employed between 1 January 1977 and 31 December 1985 and still employed on 1 December 1983 were followed from the date of hire until 30 October 1992. Occupational injuries were ascertained from a database. Kaplan-Meier curves for time to 1st injury were calculated for the total cohort and for different subgroups. A multivariate analysis of risk factors for 1st injury was carried out using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results Forty-one percent of the workers had ?1 occupational injuries, and 39% of 1st injuries occurred in the 1st year of employment. Lacerations, contusions, penetration by foreign bodies, burns, sprains, and fractures constituted the main diagnostic groups. Injuries to the hands, eyes, feet, arms, and legs dominated. Over 5% of the injured workers were on temporary disability leave (cumulative total 10 660 days). The probability for an occupational injury was 16% for the 1st year, rising to 25% in the 2nd year. The risk of nonfatal injury was highest for laborers [hazard ratio (HR) 1.76, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.35-2.29] and employees in the steel mill (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.21-1.63), and inversely related to worker age and educational level. The risk of injury decreased significantly with calendar period of employment.

Conclusions Substantial reductions in nonfatal injuries may reflect changes in work organization, increased automation, and improved safety standards. Knowledge of predictors of work-related injury may contribute to injury prevention strategies, especially among newly employed workers.

The following article refers to this text: 2008;34(6):438-443