Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/13/2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Marizen Ramirez


Work-related injuries are a persistent problem in the manufacturing industry. This research focuses on factors involved in the incidence, severity, and effective treatment of work-related injuries in a population of manufacturing workers. Data from a large Midwestern manufacturing facility were obtained with the aims of measuring the association between shift work and injury incidence, measuring the impact of injury reporting lag on injury severity, describing an intervention designed to provide expedited treatment to injured workers, and describing worker and injury characteristics associated with treatment success.

Using injury and employment data from the Midwestern manufacturing facility for the years 2011 and 2012, we found that workers on second shift had a marginally significant increase in injury incidence compared to first shift workers. No differences were observed between third shift and first shift workers. Gender and job tenure were also found to be associated with increased injury rates. Job tenure was, in fact, a more significant predictor of injury than age.

Using injury data from the years 2011 and 2012, we found that delayed injury reporting had a significant impact on injury severity. As the lag time increased between the date of injury and the injury report date, so too did the odds that the injury would lead to restricted work days. We did not, however, find the same association between reporting lag and lost work days. Injury type was a significant predictor of both restricted and lost days. Job tenure and body part injured were also predictors of lost days.

Finally, we collected data from the years 2007-2009 on injured workers treated for musculoskeletal disorders through an intervention designed to reduce treatment lag time. The intervention, delivered by occupational health nurses and physical therapists, provided injured workers with a physical therapy visit within three days of reporting an injury. The intervention was designed to circumvent two barriers to timely care, the delay between the injury report date and the first occupational health physician visit, and the delay between the first physician visit and the first physical therapy visit. The most significant predictor of program discharge success was patient age. Older workers tended to have lower odds of being discharged to their baseline work duties compared to young workers. Overall, nearly two-thirds of the injured workers referred to the program were successfully discharged, regardless of gender, body part injured, cause of injury, or nature of injury.

This project addresses the important issue of injuries in the manufacturing industry. We provide evidence on the factors associated with injury incidence and injury severity among workers in a large Midwestern manufacturing facility. We also show that workplace injury treatment interventions directed by occupational health nurses and physical therapists can be very effective in returning injured workers to their regular job duties. Our evidence suggests that future research and injury prevention efforts should focus on shift workers, low tenured workers, reducing delayed injury reporting, and reducing delayed injury treatment.


Delayed Injury Reporting, Maufacturing, Occupational Injuries, Occupational Injury Treatment, Shift Work, Work-Related Injuries


vii, 79 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 75-79).


Copyright © 2016 Nathan Alan Gross

Available for download on Friday, July 13, 2018