Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.P.H.

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

M.D., Stuart M. Brooks

Keywords

safety training, prevention, occupational, industrial hazards, machine safety

Abstract

Nationally, 10,852 workplace amputation injuries in the US were reported in 1997. This number has been gradually decreasing over time to 9,658 amputations in 2000. In Florida, the amputation injuries have been increasing from 272 in 1997 to 417 in 2000. The reason for this increase is unclear and deserves further study. The purpose of a portion of this study was to examine the Federal and Florida BLS data to determine the characteristics of the typical worker with an amputation injury. A worker with an amputation injury was most likely to be a white male between the ages of 35 and 44 with 1 to 5 years of employment. The amputated part was usually a finger which was injured in a machinery source. The purpose of the self-designed survey was to determine if there were any differences in the amputation prevention strategies between companies with and without amputation injuries.

The survey also attempted to uncover any changes made to the safety training program after an amputation injury occurred. Using the Florida workers compensation data, surveys were sent to all companies with amputation injuries for the years 1999, 2000, and 2001. An equal number of surveys were sent to companies without amputation injuries during the same years of interest. A total of 840 surveys were mailed out. 146 were returned as undeliverable. 35 surveys were returned in the amputation group and 35 surveys were returned in the control group. All SIC codes were represented except mining. In the amputation group during the years investigated, 15 out of 35 (42.9%) companies claimed amputation injuries and 20 (57%) companies did not. The true error rate for the workers compensation data was a 13% misclassification of amputation injuries into that category.

Comparison of the prevention strategies between the amputation and control groups revealed no significant differences. Of the companies claiming amputation injuries, 8 out of 15 (53%) made no changes to their safety training program after the injury occurred. Proactive techniques and global changes in safety culture mindset will be necessary before major reductions in amputation injuries can occur.

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