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Ranking Occupations Based Upon the Costs of Job-Related Injuries and Diseases

Leigh, Paul J. PhD; Miller, Ted R. PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: December 1997 - Volume 39 - Issue 12 - p 1170-1182
Original Article

In this article, we construct a ranking of occupations based upon the costs of job-related injuries and illnesses. Data are drawn from large nationally representative Bureau of Labor (BLS) data sets. Information is obtained on occupation and workers' compensation (WC) category of the injury or illness, which are then matched to information on costs. Six broad occupations and 413 specific (3-digit) occupations are ranked by total costs. Six broad and 223 specific occupations are ranked by costs per worker (average cost). Operators and laborers is the broad occupation category that contributes both the highest total and average cost. Specific occupations that contributed the most to total costs include heavy truck drivers, non-construction laborers, machine operators (not specified), occupations not classified, janitors, nursing orderlies, construction laborers, assemblers, retail sales workers (not elsewhere specified), miscellaneous machine operators, and carpenters. Occupations high on the average cost list include not-specified mechanics, general and construction laborers, press apprentices, welders, stone cutters, and warehouse workers. Although the BLS data are limited, they can be used to provide a preliminary look at which occupations are contributing the most and the least to the overall economic costs of occupational injuries and illnesses.

From the Department of Economics, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif., and the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. (Dr Leigh); and the National Public Services Research Institute, Landover, Md.

Address correspondence to: J. Paul Leigh, PhD. Department of Economics, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0114.

© Williams & Wilkins 1997. All Rights Reserved.