A Comparison of Work-Related Injury Visits and Other Injury Visits to Emergency Departments in the United States, 1995-1996

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Estimates of nonfatal work-related injuries range from 6 to 13 million annually, and the most serious of these injuries are presented to hospital emergency departments (EDs). To describe work-related injury ED visits in the United States, we examined data from the 1995-1996 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which is a national probability sample survey of visits to EDs of non-federal, short-stay, and general hospitals. In 1995-1996, an annual average of 4 million work-related injury ED visits were made by persons 16 years of age and over. The average annual rate of work-related injury visits was 3.5 per 100 workers, and the rate of nonwork-related injury visits was 11.2 per 100 persons. Persons 16-19 years of age had a higher work-related injury visit rate (6.9 per 100 full-time equivalents [FTEs]) than did those 20 years of age and over (3.4 per 100 FTEs). Males had higher work-related injury visit rates (4.3 per 100 FTEs) than females (2.4 per 100 FTEs). The leading cause of injury and diagnosis for work-related injury ED visits were "cuts" (16%) and "open wound" (22%), respectively. Determining appropriate preventive action will reduce the number of workers injured and may result in financial savings for industries and health care systems.

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