DOI

10.17077/etd.mqqlhyex

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Access Restrictions

.

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Ramirez, Marizen

First Committee Member

Peek-Asa, Corinne

Second Committee Member

Field, R. William

Third Committee Member

Fethke, Nathan

Fourth Committee Member

Culp, Kennith

Abstract

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.

Public Abstract

This research addresses the persistent problem of work-related injuries in the manufacturing industry. Data from a large Midwestern manufacturing facility were obtained to measure the association between shift work and injury incidence, to determine the impact of injury reporting lag on injury severity as measured by restricted work days and lost work days, to describe an intervention designed to provide expedited treatment to injured workers, and to describe the characteristics of workers and their injuries associated with treatment success.

Overall, we found that second shift workers sustained injuries at a higher rate than first shift workers, females had higher injury rates than males, and higher tenured workers had lower injury rates than low tenured workers. We also found that the longer workers delay reporting their injuries, the greater the odds that injuries will lead to restricted work days. Finally, we found that a treatment intervention directed by nurses and physical therapists was very effective in returning workers to their baseline job tasks regardless of gender, body part injured, cause of injury, or nature of injury.

This research provides evidence on important factors associated with injury incidence and injury severity among manufacturing workers. 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 injury reporting lag time, and reducing injury treatment lag time.

Keywords

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

Pages

vii, 79 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 75-79).

Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Nathan Alan Gross

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