Thursday, March 05, 2009

Female Gender and Increased Injury Risk

American Journal of Epidemiology 2009 169(2):161-166; doi:10.1093/aje/kwn304

Sex Differences in Injury Patterns Among Workers in Heavy Manufacturing

Oyebode A. Taiwo, Linda F. Cantley, Martin D. Slade, Keshia M. Pollack, Sally Vegso, Martha G. Fiellin and Mark R. Cullen
Correspondence to Martha G. Fiellin, Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (e-mail:

The objective of the study was to determine if female workers in a heavy manufacturing environment have a higher risk of injury compared with males when performing the same job and to evaluate sex differences in type or severity of injury. By use of human resources and incident surveillance data for the hourly population at 6 US aluminum smelters, injuries that occurred from January 1, 1996, through December 21, 2005, were analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression, adjusted for job, tenure, and age category, was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for female versus male injury risk for all injuries, recordable injuries, and lost work time injuries. The analysis was repeated for acute injuries and musculoskeletal disorder-related injuries separately. Female workers in this industry have a greater risk for sustaining all forms of injury after adjustment for age, tenure, and standardized job category (odds ratio = 1.365, 95% confidence interval: 1.290, 1.445). This excess risk for female workers persisted when injuries were dichotomized into acute injuries (odds ratio = 1.2) and musculoskeletal disorder-related injuries (odds ratio = 1.1). This study provides evidence of a sex disparity in occupational injury with female workers at higher risk compared with their male counterparts in a heavy manufacturing environment.


BrooklynDodger(s) Comment: Finding a 37% excess risk among women carries some political implications, although this is not much of a difference given the nature of OSHA based statistics. Any of these rates is sensitive to propensity to record and propensity to report. Which goes back to facility culture. This report is pretty clearly about Alcoa. Stratification of injuries by nature - MSD v. acute - and of victims by job class is very sophisticated. Some of the numbers don't add up: injuries are stratified into MSD and acute [very sophisticated] but the relative risk for each is less than the relative risk combined. Maybe there's an "other category"?

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