Examining occupational health and safety disparities using national data: A cause for continuing concern

Authors

  • Andrea L. Steege PhD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Correspondence to: Dr. Andrea L. Steege, PhD, MPH, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC/NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway MS R18, Cincinnati, OH 45226. E-mail: asteege@cdc.gov

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  • Sherry L. Baron MD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Suzanne M. Marsh MPA,

    1. Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, West Virginia
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  • Cammie Chaumont Menéndez PhD,

    1. Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, West Virginia
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  • John R. Myers MS

    1. Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, West Virginia
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.
  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Mention of company names or products does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Abstract

Background

Occupational status, a core component of socioeconomic status, plays a critical role in the well-being of U.S. workers. Identifying work-related disparities can help target prevention efforts.

Methods

Bureau of Labor Statistics workplace data were used to characterize high-risk occupations and examine relationships between demographic and work-related variables and fatality.

Results

Employment in high-injury/illness occupations was independently associated with being male, Black, ≤high school degree, foreign-birth, and low-wages. Adjusted fatal occupational injury rate ratios for 2005–2009 were elevated for males, older workers, and several industries and occupations. Agriculture/forestry/fishing and mining industries and transportation and materials moving occupations had the highest rate ratios. Homicide rate ratios were elevated for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native/Asian/Pacific Islanders, and foreign-born workers.

Conclusions

These findings highlight the importance of understanding patterns of disparities of workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Results can improve intervention efforts by developing programs that better meet the needs of the increasingly diverse U.S. workforce. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:527–538, 2014. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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