On the job injuries, by the numbers

Consistent with previous studies performed by the U.S. Department of Labor, men reported significantly more work-related injuries than women, and injury rates declined with increasing age. White employees had higher injury rates than black employees, but both groups had lower injury rates than those reporting their race as “other,” a group predominantly made up of Hispanics.

The findings come from the study “Occupational Injury in America: An analysis of risk factors using data from the General Social Survey," conducted by Dave DeJoy, a University of Georgia professor, and Todd Smith, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia College of Public Health. The researchers examined the risks of occupational injury in terms of socio-demographic factors, employment characteristics and organizational factors from a diverse sample of occupations and worker groups involving 1,525 workers.

Respondents working in precision production, craft and repair were most likely to report being injured at work. Service workers had the second highest injury rate, followed by those working in farming, forestry and fishing.

Workers in administrative, support and clerical positions had the lowest injury rate.

Respondents earning $15,000 to $19,999 per year reported the most injuries, followed by those earning $20,000 to $24,999. Injury rates declined substantially for those earning more than $25,000. Those earning less than $15,000 reported the fewest injuries. 

“There has been a clear need to examine organizational factors across a diverse array of occupations and employment circumstances to see how generalized or pervasive these factors are,” DeJoy said.

“Results point to the importance of good management practices and safety climate to injury reduction in a variety of different work settings and employment contexts,” he concluded.

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Roy Maurer is a staff writer for SHRM.