274389 Epidemiology and burden of workplace falls among health care workers

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Karen Ngan , Statistics and Evaluation, Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare in British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sharla Drebit , Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare, Vancouver, BC, BC, Canada
Falls are a leading cause of occupational injury for workers in healthcare, yet the risk factors and associated economic burden of falls in this sector are understudied. Falls resulting in workers' compensation for time-loss from work from 2004-2007 for healthcare workers in British Columbia (BC) were extracted from a standardised incident-reporting database. Productive hours were derived from payroll data for the denominator to produce injury rates. The costs for treatment and wage loss and days lost for accepted time-loss claims were calculated. A total of 411 falls were accepted for time-loss compensation. Compared to registered nurses, facility support workers (risk ratio (95% CI) = 6.29 (4.56-8.69)) and community health workers (6.58 (3.76-11.50)) were at high risk for falls. Falls predominantly occurred outdoors, in patients' rooms and kitchens depending on occupation and sub-sector. Slippery surfaces due to icy conditions or liquid contaminants were a leading contributing factor. Falls were more frequent in the colder months (January-March). The median number of days lost was higher for females, long-term care workers, licensed practical nurses and care aides. Females, long-term care workers, RNs, licensed practical nurses, care aides and maintenance workers had the most costly falls.

Reducing work-related serious fall injuries would be expected to bring about significant benefits in terms of reduced pain and suffering, improved workplace productivity, reduced absenteeism and reduced compensation costs. The findings of this research should contribute towards developing evidence-based interventions to reduce fall injuries in healthcare.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify occupational and environmental risk factors of falls among healthcare workers 2. Compare the healthcare occupations with respect to their risk for workplace falls 3. Describe the economic burden of workplace falls from the perspective of workers’ compensation claims 4. Explain the current interventions available for falls prevention in healthcare

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal Investigator of a grant : Identifying Risk Factors of Falls among B.C.'s Healthcare Workers
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.