If it bleeds, it leads

The construction of workplace injury in Canadian newspapers, 2009–2014
Background: Public perceptions of workplace injuries are shaped by media reports, but the accuracy of such reports is unknown.
Objectives: This study identifies differences between workers' compensation claims data and newspaper reports of workplace injuries in Canadian newspapers and media sources.
Methods: This study applies quantitative content analysis to 245 Canadian English-language newspaper articles from 2009 to 2014. Workers' compensation claims data is drawn from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada.
Results: Newspapers dramatically overreport fatalities, injuries to men, injuries in the construction and mining/quarrying/oil industries, injuries stemming from contact with objects/equipment and fires/explosions, and acute physical injuries such as burns, fractures, intracranial injuries, and traumatic injuries. Newspaper reporters tend to rely upon government, police/firefighter, and employer accounts, rarely recounting the perspectives of workers.
Conclusion: Newspapers overreported fatalities, injuries to men, and injuries in the construction and mining/quarrying/oil industries. This results in a misleading picture of occupational injuries in Canada.

Source: Barnetson B, Foster J. Int. J. Occup. Environ. Health, 2015.

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