Occupational Injuries Presenting to the Emergency Department: Workplace Conditions and Functional, Economic and Social Consequences

Faculty Researcher: Samuel A. McLean, MD, MPH, Lecturer, Dept. of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan

The National Occupational Research Agenda has identified traumatic injury, health services research, the social and economic consequences of workplace illness and injury, and surveillance research methods as priority areas. Approximately 34% of occupational injuries are treated in the ED, with estimates of 10.5 million occupational injuries treated in EDs annually. About 2% of occupational injuries treated in the ED are hospitalized; the rest are treated and released. Among patients presenting to the emergency department with workplace injury, little is known about workplace conditions surrounding the injury or patient outcomes. We plan to evaluate the causes and general health outcomes of workplace injury in patients presenting to the ED who are treated and released. A research assistant will approach patients presenting to the emergency department with an occupational injury for enrollment into the study cohort. Baseline patient characteristics, including demographic information, employer information, type and mechanism of injury, and pre-injury health status will be collected on consenting patients. Telephone surveys will be administered to individuals 5-7 days after the ED visit to assess work and general health consequences. Those indicating ongoing adverse injury consequences will be screened again two weeks and six weeks after the ED visit. Working conditions, demographic and injury information, task-specific job loss, days of work lost, and general health outcomes will be assessed. This information will be used to implement future intervention studies aimed at preventing occupational injury or limiting the associated morbidity through ED interventions.


Publications resulting from this project:
McLean SA, Blow FC, Walton MA, et al. Rates of at-risk drinking among patients presenting to the emergency department with occupational and nonoccupational injury. Acad Emerg Med. 2003;10(12):1354-1361.

Grants resulting from this project:
University of Michigan K12 Program. K12 RR017607-01 (PI:Schteingart). Development of Chronic Pain After Motor Vehicle Trauma. 2005-2006.


Research trainee’s current position:
Samuel McLean is currently an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.