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Keywords:

  • workers'compensation;
  • young workers;
  • occupational injuries

Abstract

Background

Occupational injuries to adolescents and young adults are a known public health problem. We sought to describe and estimate rates of occupational injuries to workers younger than 25 years of age in Oregon during an 8-year period.

Methods

Oregon workers' compensation disabling claims data (n = 23,325) and one commercial insurance carrier's non-disabling claims data (n = 16,153) were analyzed. Total employment from the Local Employment Dynamics of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Oregon Labor Market Information System was used as a denominator for rates.

Results

Injuries were more frequent among 22–24 year olds and among males, though females accounted for a higher proportion of claims in the youngest age group. The most common injury type was a sprain or strain, but lacerations and burns were more frequently reported in the 14–18 year olds. When non-disabling claims were included, the rate of injury for 14–18 year olds doubled. The overall rate of injury was 122.7/10,000 workers, but was higher in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, and in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector for older teens and young adults.

Conclusions

Young workers continue to be at risk for occupational injuries. Our results show that specific interventions may be needed for older teen and young adult workers to reduce their rate of injury. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:984–994, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.