Aims: To determine whether fatigue and need for recovery are risk factors for being injured in an occupational accident.
Methods: These associations were investigated within the Maastricht Cohort Study of "Fatigue at Work", a prospective cohort study of employees from a wide range of companies and organisations. For 7051 employees information was available on fatigue as measured with the Checklist Individual Strength (CIS), need for recovery as measured with the VBBA, and possible confounding factors such as age, smoking, alcohol consumption, educational level, shift work, and work environment. Information on the risk factors was collected in May 1999 and January 2000, before the occurrence of the occupational accidents. The incidence of being injured in an occupational accident was inventoried over the year 2000. A total of 108 employees reported having been injured in an occupational accident in 2000.
Results: For the highest CIS fatigue score tertile a for age, gender, educational level, smoking, shift work, and work environment, adjusted relative risk for being injured in an occupational accident of 1.29 (95% CI: 1.03 to 2.78) was found compared to the lowest tertile, and for the highest tertile of need for recovery a relative risk of 2.28 (95% CI: 1.41 to 3.66) was found.
Conclusions: Fatigue and need for recovery were found to be independent risk factors for being injured in an occupational accident. This means that in the push back of occupational accidents, fatigue, and even more importantly need for recovery, need special attention.