Epidemiology of work-related fall injuries resulting in hospitalisation: individual and work risk factors and severity

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Abstract

Objectives Injuries at work are common and costly for individuals and employers. A common mechanism of workplace injury is through falls, but there have been few epidemiological studies of risk factors. This study aimed to identify patient, work and injury factors associated with injuries causing hospitalisation after falling at work in Victoria, Australia. Methods Data came from work-related hospitalised injury admissions, identified by International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision Australian Modification codes and compensation status, from Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2022. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with same-level falls and falls from height. Results This study included 42 176 work-related injury admissions: 8669 (20.6%) fall injuries and 33 507 (79.4%) other injuries. Rates of high falls were more common in males than females (0.44 (95% CI: 0.43, 0.46) vs 0.08 (0.08, 0.09) admissions per 1000 employed), while same-level falls were more common in females than males (0.21 (0.20, 0.22) vs 0.18 (0.17, 0.18)). Patients with same-level fall injuries, relative to all other work injuries, were more likely to be older women, and have at least one chronic condition; falls from height were associated with male sex and construction work and more likely to result in intracranial, internal organ injuries and fractures and longer hospital stay than non-fall injuries. Conclusion Work-related falls were common and relatively severe. Same-level falls are relatively likely to occur in older women, the fastest-growing workplace demographic, and therefore the incidence is expected to increase. Comorbidities are an important fall risk factor. Employers could consider industry-relevant high and same-level fall prevention strategies for reducing the workplace injury burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66–73
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume81
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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