Does the year-end decline in injury risk reflect reporting error?

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Abstract

Background

Relatively little is known about seasonal patterns in occupational injury risk. Injury risk may vary seasonally due to weather-related factors or changing work exposure. Employer confusion about recordkeeping rules and injury occurrence near year end may also lead to an undercount of year-end injuries.

Methods

Case records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries were used to determine seasonality for a variety of injury types.

Results

Reported injury rates were higher in summer and lower at year end. Difficult-to-identify injuries showed greater year-end incidence declines.

Conclusions

End-of-year injury declines may have reflected reporting errors for some injury types. The summertime increase in injury risk was broad-based and presumably reflected real seasonal factors. Am. J. Ind. Med. 58:519–527, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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