Civil engineering airman at increased risk for injuries and injury-related musculoskeletal disorders

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BackgroundWith the advent of electronic records, the opportunity to conduct research on workplace-related injuries and musculoskeletal disorders has increased dramatically. The purpose of this study was to examine the United States Air Force Civil Engineering career field to determine if they are negatively impacted by their work environment. Specifically, the objective of this study was to determine if enlisted Civil Engineering Airmen (n = 25,385) were at increased risk for injury or injury-related musculoskeletal disorders compared to enlisted Information Management/Communications Airmen (n = 28,947).MethodsUsing an historical prospective design, electronic data were assembled and analyzed using Cox's proportional hazards modeling. Models were stratified by gender and adjusted for race/ethnicity, marital status, birth year, and deployment status.ResultsMale Civil Engineers were observed to be at greater risk for both inpatient injury-related musculoskeletal disorders (HR = 1.86; 95% CI = 1.54-2.26) and injuries (HR = 1.77; 95% CI = 1.48-2.11), while female Civil Engineers were more than double the risk for both inpatient injury-related musculoskeletal disorders (HR = 2.18; 95% CI = 1.28-3.73) and injuries (HR = 2.22; 95% CI = 1.27-3.88) compared to Information Management/Communications Airmen.ConclusionsAlthough analyses do not allow exploration of specific causes, they highlight the utility of using electronic data to identify occupations for further evaluation. Based on these results, additional resources were allocated to survey Civil Engineers on their physical work demands and job requirements to identify key problem areas for further study and mitigation. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:248-254, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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