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Study examines rate of occupational injuries among disabled workers

Today's working environment is much different from decades past. However, it's not just the products and technology that have undergone dramatic changes, but also the workforce itself. To illustrate, a disability is no longer seen as some sort of insurmountable obstacle to landing a good job and disabled adults play a vital role in the success of America's workforce.

Interestingly, the American Journal of Public Health recently published a study comparing the rates at which disabled workers and non-disabled workers suffer serious work injuries.

In order to arrive at this conclusion, researchers from The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University examined an extensive data set from the 2006 to 2010 National Health Interview Survey. Here, these computerized interviews gathered data about work injuries requiring medical treatment that took place during the three months before the interview.

The researchers ultimately determined the following:

  • The occupational injury rate for disabled workers was 6.0 per 100 workers while the occupational injury rate for non-disabled workers was 2.3 per 100 workers
  • The non-occupational injury rate for disabled workers was 16.4 per 100 workers while the non-occupational injury rate for non-disabled workers was 6.4 per 100 workers

"The increase in occupational injuries to workers with disabilities found in our study shows the need for better accommodation and safety programs in the workplace and the need for a safer working environment," said Huiyun Xiang, one of the primary authors of the study.

What types of accidents were to blame for the elevated occupational injury rate among disabled workers?

Researchers found that falls and transportation-related injuries were the primary causes of work injuries among the disabled. Accordingly, they recommended that employers implement safety programs/policies designed to address these particular dangers. In fact, they theorized that such programs/policies would actually serve to reduce the injury rate among an employer's entire workforce.

Stay tuned for more our workers' compensation defense blog ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.


EHS Today, "Disabled workers experience higher rates of occupational injuries," Laura Walter, Aug. 10, 2012

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