Work-related injuries: injury characteristics, survival, and age effect

Am Surg. 2011 Jun;77(6):702-7.


Work-related injuries impose a significant burden on society. The goal of this study was to delineate the epidemiology and the effect of age on type and mortality after occupational injuries. Patients 16 years of age or older sustaining work-related injuries were identified from the National Trauma Databank 12.0. The study population was stratified into four age groups: 16 to 35, 36 to 55, 56 to 65, and older than 65 years old. The demographic characteristics, type of injury, mechanism of injury, setting of injury, use of alcohol or other illicit drugs, and mortality were analyzed and related to age strata. Overall 67,658 patients were identified. There were 27,125 (40.1%) patients in the age group 16 to 35 years, 30,090 (44.5%) in the group 36 to 55 years, 6,618 (9.8%) in the group 56 to 65 years, and 3,825 (5.7%) older than 65 years. The injury severity increased significantly with age. Elderly patients were significantly more likely to sustain intracranial hemorrhages, spinal, and other skeletal injuries. The overall mortality was 2.9 per cent (1938) with the latter increasing significantly in a stepwise fashion with progressing age, becoming sixfold higher in patients older than 65 years (OR, 6.18; 95% CI, 4.78 to 7.80; P < 0.001). Our examination illustrates the associations between occupational injury and significant mortality that warrant intervention for mortality reduction. There is a stepwise-adjusted increase in mortality with progressing age.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Young Adult