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Epidemiology of work-related fall injuries resulting in hospitalisation: individual and work risk factors and severity
  1. Win Wah,
  2. Janneke Berecki-Gisolf,
  3. Karen Walker-Bone
  1. Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Win Wah, Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia; win.wah1{at}monash.edu

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.

  • occupational health
  • wounds and Injuries
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.

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Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.

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Footnotes

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  • Contributors JB-G—conceptualisation, data curation and analysis. JB-G and WW—interpretation and writing (original draft). JB-G, KW-B and WW—writing (review and editing). JB-G, KW-B and WW—responsible for the overall content as the guarantors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.