Characteristics and determinants of recurrent occupational accidents

Recurrent occupational accidents provide valuable information for prevention purposes. Characteristics of recurrent occupational accidents were studied using a dataset of a Finnish insurance company including 21,580 subjects having at least two compensated workplace accidents with the same working process. For more than two thirds (70%) of the subjects, the circumstances and causes of the first accident did not reoccur in the second accident but their recurrence was substantial, typically around 30%. Working process and characteristics of the first accident affected the reoccurrence. In services, the violence-related accidents reoccurred for every second subject but losing control of machine only for every eighth subject. Moreover, the latter accidents were more severe than the former accidents. On average, two times more days were lost in the second than in the first accident.
The determinants of recurrent occupational accidents were examined for a small subset of 41 victims who had answered to a health-related questionnaire. Compared to age-matched controls with only one occupational accident, the subjects with at least two accidents were 3.2 times more likely to exercise less frequently, 3.2 times more likely to have relatives with diabetes and 2.6 times more likely to have symptoms of health problems.
The substantial reoccurrence of occupational accidents emphasizes the importance of assessing the prevention policies after each accident. Occupational accidents are related to work conditions and organizational practices but analysis of more in-depth data e.g. questionnaires may promote the means to improve the prevention policies of occupational accidents (e.g. violence-related) currently being difficult to prevent.

Source: Pietilä, J., Räsänen, T., Reiman, A., Ratilainen, H. et Helander, E. (2018). Safety science, 108, 269-277.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2017.12.020

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