Examining the epidemiology of work-related traumatic brain injury through a sex/gender lens

Analysis of workers' compensation claims in Victoria, Australia
OBJECTIVES: To provide an overview of the epidemiology of work-related traumatic brain injury (wrTBI) in the state of Victoria, Australia. Specifically, we investigated sex differences in incidence, demographics, injury characteristics, in addition to outcomes associated with wrTBI.
METHODS: This study involved secondary analysis of administrative workers' compensation claims data obtained from the Victorian WorkCover Authority for the period 2004-2011. Sex-specific and industry-specific rates of wrTBI were calculated using denominators derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A descriptive analysis of all variables was conducted for the total wrTBI population and stratified by sex.
RESULTS: Among 4186 wrTBI cases identified, 36.4% were females. The annual incidence of wrTBI was estimated at 19.8/100 000 workers. The rate for males was 1.43 (95% CI 1.35 to 1.53) times that for females, but the gap between the two sexes appeared to have narrowed over time. Compared to males, females were older at time of injury and had lower preinjury income. Males had higher rates than females across most industry sectors, with the exception of education/training (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.93) and professional/scientific/technical services (RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.93). For both sexes, the most common injury mechanism was struck by/against, followed by falls. WrTBI among males was associated with longer duration of work disability and higher claim costs compared to females.
CONCLUSIONS: This study found significant sex differences in various risk factors and outcomes of wrTBI. Sex/gender should be taken into consideration in future research and prevention strategies.

Source: Chang VC, Ruseckaite R, Collie A, Colantonio A. Occup. Environ. Med. 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2014-102097

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