Using workers’ compensation claims data to characterize occupational injuries in the biofuels industry
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Biofuels production is a fast growing and emerging industry. Occupational injuries are a serious problem due to their human, financial and social costs, yet little research has been published on injuries in the biofuels industry. Learning from past injuries are essential for preventing future occurrences, but the lack of injury information hinders this effort in the biofuels industry. The present study addresses this knowledge gap by utilizing data from over 900 workers’ compensation claims reported from 2008 to 2016 by ethanol and biodiesel facilities in the U.S. to characterize injury costs and severity. The total amount paid for each claim was used as a measure of injury severity, and the effects of age, tenure, type of claim, body part injured, nature and, cause of injury on the cost of work-related injuries were investigated. Contingency tables were used to classify the variable pairs, chi-square test and chi-square residuals were employed to evaluate the relation between the variable pairs and identify the at-risk groups. Results showed age, tenure of employee, type of claim, body part injured, nature of injury and, cause of injury have a significant influence in determining the claim amount. Age group 46–50, tenure group 1–2 years, strain and fractures injuries, slips, falls, or trips and, injuries to lower extremities were some of the at-risk groups identified. The findings from the study will assist biofuel producers to develop precisely targeted safety interventions that are effective in preventing worker injuries and also mitigating the financial and social losses from occupational injuries.
This is a manuscript of an article published as Ramaswamy, Sai K., and Gretchen A. Mosher. "Using workers’ compensation claims data to characterize occupational injuries in the biofuels industry." Safety Science 103 (2018): 352-360. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2017.12.014. Posted with permission.