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Original research
Predictors of subsequent injury at work: findings from a prospective cohort of injured workers in New Zealand
  1. Helen Harcombe1,
  2. Ari Samaranayaka2,
  3. Emma H Wyeth3,
  4. Gabrielle Davie1,
  5. Ian D Cameron4,
  6. Rebbecca Lilley1,
  7. Sarah Derrett1
  1. 1 Injury Prevention Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2 Centre for Biostatistics, Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  3. 3 Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  4. 4 John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Sydney Medical School Northern Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Harcombe, Injury Prevention Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; helen.harcombe{at}otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Objectives People who have experienced a work-related injury can experience further work injuries over time. This study examines predictors of subsequent work-related injuries over 24 months among a cohort of injured workers.

Methods Participants were those recruited to the earlier Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study (POIS) who had a work-related injury (the ‘sentinel’ injury). Data from POIS participant interviews were combined with administrative data from the Accident Compensation Corporation (New Zealand’s no-fault universal injury insurer) and hospital discharge data. Modified Poisson regression modelling was used to examine whether presentinel injury sociodemographic and health, sentinel injury or presentinel injury work-related factors predicted subsequent work-related injuries.

Results Over a third of participants (37%) had at least one subsequent work-related injury in 24 months. Factors associated with an increased risk of work-related subsequent injury included being in a job involving carrying or moving heavy loads more than half the time compared with those in jobs that never involved such tasks (RR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.01), having an inadequate household income compared with those with an adequate household income (RR 1.33, 95% CI 1.02 1.74) and being aged 50–64 years compared with those aged 30–49 years (RR 1.25, 95% 1.00 to 1.57).

Conclusion Subsequent work-related injuries occur frequently, and presenting with a work-related injury indicates a potentially important intervention point for subsequent injury prevention. While the strength of associations were not strong, factors identified in this study that showed an increased risk of subsequent work-related injuries may provide a useful focus for injury prevention or rehabilitation attention.

  • epidemiology
  • injury
  • longitudinal studies

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Footnotes

  • Contributors HH and SD were colead investigators of the Subsequent Injury Study (SInS); SD was the lead investigator of the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study (POIS); HH wrote the draft of the manuscript; AS analysed the data; all coauthors have contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript, have contributed to the interpretation of the findings and have read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The SInS was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (2015–2017). The POIS was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (2007–2013) and cofunded by the Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand (2007–2010).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. Due to ethical constraints the data cannot be shared but anyone interested in pursuing collaborative research should contact sarah.derrett@otago.ac.nz.

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