February 1, 2017
Drs. Tiffani Fordyce, Megan Leonhard, and Gabor Mezei, scientists in Exponent's Health Sciences practice, recently published the article, "Injuries Among Electric Power Industry Workers, 1995-2013," in the Journal of Safety Research.
Workers in the electric power industry face many risks of injury due to the high diversity of work tasks performed in potentially hazardous and unpredictable work environments.
This paper calculated injury rates by age, sex, occupational group, and injury type among workers in the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) Occupational Health and Safety Database (OHSD), which contains recordable injury, medical claims, and personnel data from 18 participating electric power companies from 1995 to 2013.
The OHSD includes a total of 63,193 injuries over 1,977,436 employee-years of follow-up, for an overall injury rate of 3.20 injuries per 100 employee-years. Annual injury rates steadily decreased from 1995 to 2000, increased sharply in 2001, and subsequently decreased to their lowest rate of 1.31 injuries per 100 employee-years in 2013. Occupations with the highest injury rates were welders (13.56 per 100 employee-years, 95% CI 12.74 — 14.37), meter readers (12.04 per 100 employee-years, 95% CI 11.77 — 12.31), and line workers (10.37 per 100 employee-years, 95% CI 10.19 — 10.56). Males had an overall higher injury rate compared to females (2.74 vs. 1.61 per 100 employee-years) although some occupations, such as meter reader, had higher injury rates for females. For all workers, injury rates were highest for those in the 21 to 30 age group (3.70 per 100 employee-years) and decreased with age. Welders and machinists did not follow this trend and had higher injury rates in the 65 + age group. There were 63 fatalities over the 1995 to 2013 period, with 21 fatalities (33.3%) occurring among line workers.
Although injury rates have decreased over time, certain high-risk groups remain (i.e., line workers, mechanics, young males, older welders and machinists, and female meter readers).
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