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Original research
Fraction of acute work-related injuries attributable to hazardous occupational noise across the USA in 2019

Abstract

Introduction The contribution of hazardous noise—a ubiquitous exposure in workplaces—to occupational injury risk is often overlooked. In this ecological study, the fraction of US workplace acute injuries resulting in days away from work in 2019 attributable to hazardous occupational noise exposure was estimated.

Methods Using the NoiseJEM, a job exposure matrix of occupational noise, and 2019 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data, the proportion of workers experiencing hazardous occupational noise (≥85 dBA) was estimated for every major US Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) group. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) were calculated for each major SOC group using the relative risk (RR) taken from a published 2017 meta-analysis on this relationship.

Results About 20.3 million workers (13.8%) are exposed to hazardous levels of occupational noise. Nearly 3.4% of acute injuries resulting in days away from work in 2019 (95% CI 2.4% to 4.4%) were attributable to hazardous occupational noise, accounting for roughly 14 794 injuries (95% CI 10 367 to 18 994). The occupations with the highest and the lowest PAFs were production (11.9%) and office and administrative support (0.0%), respectively.

Discussion Hazardous noise exposure at work is an important and modifiable factor associated with a substantial acute occupational injury burden.

  • occupational health
  • noise
  • wounds and injuries
  • cross-sectional studies

Data availability statement

Data are available in public, open access repositories.

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