Prioritizing back injury risk in hospital employees: application and comparison of different injury rates

J Occup Environ Med. 2000 Jun;42(6):645-52. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200006000-00016.


To identify high risk areas for back injury in a large teaching hospital, we calculated standard injury rates and newly developed composite statistics for nursing and non-nursing work groups. Data were extracted from the hospital's workers' compensation database. The hospital-wide total injury rate was 4.6 reports per 100 full-time equivalents (FTE); Compensation Case Rate, 1.4 cases per 100 FTE; Compensation Severity Rate, 76 days lost per 100 FTE; and the Cost Rate, $3742 per 100 FTE. The Total Injury Reports Rate for nursing varied from 14.2 per 100 FTE for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nursing to 3.8 per 100 FTE for Pediatric Nursing. Non-nursing areas also demonstrated increased rates for back injury. Individual statistical rates ranked areas differently in risk, whereas composite statistical measures consistently ranked ICU Nursing, Buildings and Grounds, and Orthopedics/Neurological Nursing as the top three. Patient handling was the precipitating event in the majority of nursing back injuries, indicating the need for ergonomic intervention. The use of combined statistical measures provided a more integrative measure for describing and following back injury risk over time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Back Injuries / classification
  • Back Injuries / economics*
  • Back Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Employer Health Costs
  • Female
  • Health Priorities
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Diseases / classification
  • Occupational Diseases / economics*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology