Targeting prevention programs for young and new healthcare workers: what is the association of age and job tenure with occupational injury in healthcare?

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BackgroundPrevious evidence suggests young and new workers experience an increased risk of occupational injury. We sought to confirm this observation for healthcare workers.MethodsA retrospective cohort of 42,771 healthcare workers (88.2% women) was constructed from an active injury surveillance database. Over 2 years, incidence rates and crude and adjusted relative risks for occupational injury were compared between age groups and job tenures.ResultsThere were opposite trends in the two main types of injuries which cancelled each other: new workers and young workers had a decreased (not increased) risk of musculoskeletal sprain and strain injuries (adjusted RR [95% CI] for new hires was 0.60 [0.48, 0.73], and 0.85 [0.73, 0.98] for workers <25 years old); but an increased risk of cut and puncture injuries (1.25 [1.07, 1.45] for new hires, 1.28 [0.99, 1.67] for workers <25 years old).ConclusionsContrary to studies of other sectors, younger age and shorter tenure were not universal risk factors for occupational injuries in the female dominated healthcare sector. Young and new workers had increased risk of cuts and punctures, but a decreased risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:32-39, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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