New Study Reports Lower Workplace Injury Rates for Foreign-born Workers

December 19, 2008

A new study funded by U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that foreign-born workers reported a lower rate of non-fatal work-related injuries than U.S.-born workers, based on data collected from the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2005.

The study, conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of  The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and released in the current edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that while the rate of injury was lower among foreign-born workers, the severity of the injuries they did sustain was greater. Injuries to foreign-born workers were more likely to result in hospitalization and six or more days of missed work than injuries to U.S.-born workers.

“With immigrant workers comprising a significant portion of workers in the United States, it’s important that we identify the needs of foreign-born workers and address safety issues facing them in the workplace,” said Huiyan Xiang, MD, MPH, PhD, principle investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Using this information will help to develop occupational safety guidelines specifically for foreign-born workers.”

The study also examined non-fatal work-related injuries in general.  Overall, the construction, manufacturing, and agriculture/forestry and fisheries industries had the highest rates for work-related injuries in both foreign- and U.S.-born workers. In each of these industries, the injury rate was lower among foreign-born workers than U.S.-born workers but the severity of injuries was similar. Overexertion and falls were the two most common external causes of injury for both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers.  Results also showed that Hispanic workers had higher overall work-related injuries than African Americans and Asians but these rates were still lower than the rates of Non Hispanic Whites.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research as its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, advocacy and advances in clinical care. In recognition of CIRP's valuable research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently named the Center for Injury Research and Policy as one of 13 centers in the United States to be designated as an Injury Control Research Center. Learn more about The Center for Injury Research and Policy at http://www.injurycenter.org.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of nearly 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.