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Work injuries among migrant workers in Denmark
  1. Karin Biering1,
  2. Flemming Lander2,
  3. Kurt Rasmussen1
  1. 1Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, University Research Clinic, Regional Hospital West Jutland, Herning, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karin Biering, Department of Occupational Medicine, Regional Hospital West Jutland, DK-7400 Herning, Denmark; karbie{at}rm.dk

Abstract

Objectives Work migration into Denmark has increased during the recent decades, especially after the enlargement of the European Union (EU) in 2004. Whether or not migrant workers experience more work injuries than the native workforce has been debated and results are conflicting, most likely due to methodological difficulties and cultural disparities. We set out to meet these challenges using population-based work injury registers, targeting a specific and representative region in Denmark.

Methods This population-based study used data on work injuries from an emergency department (ED) and reported injuries from the ED's catchment area to the Danish Working Environment Authority during 11 years. We calculated incidences of work injury for groups of migrant workers compared with native Danes and adjusted incidence rate ratios based on information on the complete working population.

Results The incidences of work injuries among migrant workers from the new EU countries and from the rest of the world were higher compared with Danish workers and workers from the old EU countries and other Western countries. Especially migrants older than 30 years and in low-risk industries were at higher risk. Workers who had migrated recently were at even higher risk.

Conclusions We found increased risk of work injuries among migrant workers. Studying migrants in registers is a methodological challenge as some migrants are not registered, for legal or illegal reasons; thus, only a selected group is studied, but this may most likely underestimate the risk.

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