Epidemiologic study of occupational injuries among foreign and native workers in Taiwan

Am J Ind Med. 1997 May;31(5):623-30. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199705)31:5<623::aid-ajim18>3.0.co;2-0.


This study was designed to compare the risk of occupational injuries in foreign workers compared to native workers in Taiwan. The cohort of foreign workers under study was constructed by records of legally registered workers migrated from foreign countries to Taiwan from July 1, 1991 to December 31, 1993. The native Taiwanese workers for comparison were labor-insured workers working in the same industries as foreign workers in 1992. The number of occupational injuries in the first year of employment were obtained by matching the cohort of foreign workers with the labor insurance payment records by name, birth date and passport number. The 1-year incidence rate of occupational injuries in the first year of employment was calculated and a standardized morbidity ratio (SMR) was used for comparison with adjustment for age distribution and to accommodate the small sample size of foreign workers. The risk to occupational injuries among total (SMR = 0.86) and male (SMR = 0.58) foreign workers was not higher; indeed, it was even lower, than that among native workers in Taiwan. However, the risk to female migrant workers, especially in the construction industry, was significantly higher than that of female Taiwanese workers (SMR = 1.60). Stratified by industry, the incidence was high in the fabricated metal products manufacturing industry and in machinery and equipment manufacturing industry for male foreign workers, while a high incidence for the female foreign workers occurred in construction industry and rubber products manufacturing industry. The risk of occupational injuries was greater for foreign workers who had been in Taiwan for only a short time. Most of the injuries occurred within the first 6 months of employment. Eighty-four out of the 394 occupational injuries among foreign workers resulted in disabilities. None of the accidents was fatal, but most of the disabilities were severe. The most common disabling injuries were cut or crushed fingers. The finding of a similar distribution of occupational injuries among foreign and native workers indicates that control measures are needed to reduce occupational injuries for all foreign and native workers in Taiwan.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*