Objectives: We examined how race and ethnicity influence injury and illness risk and number of days of work missed as a result of injury or illness.
Methods: We fit logistic regression and negative binomial regression models using generalized estimating equations with data from 1988 to 2000 on currently employed African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
Results: Occupational factors-having a blue-collar occupation, working full-time, having longer tenure, working 1 job versus 2, and working the late shift-were associated with increased odds of an occupational injury or illness. Although racial/ethnic minority workers were no more likely than Whites to report an occupational injury or illness, they reported missing more days of work. African American and Hispanic men missed significantly more days of work than non-Hispanic White men, and African American women missed significantly more days of work than non-Hispanic White women.
Conclusions: Factors associated with occupational health are multifaceted and complex. Our findings suggest that race/ethnicity influences the duration of work absence owing to injury or illness both indirectly (by influencing workers' occupational characteristics) and directly (by acting independently of occupational factors).