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Work-Related Injuries Involving a Hand or Fingers Among Union Carpenters in Washington State, 1989 to 2008

Lipscomb, Hester J. PhD; Schoenfisch, Ashley PhD; Cameron, Wilfrid MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 7 - p 832–838
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31828dc969
Original Articles

Objective: We evaluated work-related injuries involving a hand or fingers and associated costs among a cohort of 24,830 carpenters between 1989 and 2008.

Methods: Injury rates and rate ratios were calculated by using Poisson regression to explore higher risk on the basis of age, sex, time in the union, predominant work, and calendar time. Negative binomial regression was used to model dollars paid per claim after adjustment for inflation and discounting.

Results: Hand injuries accounted for 21.1% of reported injuries and 9.5% of paid lost time injuries. Older carpenters had proportionately more amputations, fractures, and multiple injuries, but their rates of these more severe injuries were not higher. Costs exceeded $21 million, a cost burden of $0.11 per hour worked.

Conclusions: Older carpenters' higher proportion of serious injuries in the absence of higher rates likely reflects age-related reporting differences.

From the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Dr Lipscomb and Dr Schoenfisch), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; and Strategic Solutions for Safety, Health and Environment (Mr Cameron), Seattle, Washington, DC.

Address correspondence to: Hester J. Lipscomb, PhD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3834 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710 (

Funding for the analyses of hand and finger injuries was provided through the Center for Construction Research and Training (cooperative agreement no. U60 OH009762); the cohort update from 2004 through 2008 was supported through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (cooperative agreement no. U600H009761).

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine