Workers' compensation injuries in aviation manufacturing in the state of Kansas, 2014-2022

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Manning, Christin
Jorgensen, Michael J.
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Indemnity cost , Manufacturing , Medical cost , Occupational injury , Workplace injury
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Manning, C., Jorgensen, M. Workers' compensation injuries in aviation manufacturing in the state of Kansas, 2014-2022. (2024). Journal of Safety Research, 90, pp. 73-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2024.05.016

Introduction: Workers' compensation injuries entail burdensome financial and social costs. This study's objective was to describe cost and frequency of workplace injuries in aviation manufacturing in the state of Kansas using workers' compensation data. Manufacturing incurs more workers' compensation claims in Kansas than any other industry, and aviation contributes more of those claims than any other sub sector. Method: Workers' compensation insurance and reporting are required in the state of Kansas. Data were provided by the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and included all closed workers' compensation claims entailing indemnity and medical costs filed in the state from 2014 to 2022. Cost of claim data were normalized to 2022 U.S. dollars and data were analyzed as a function of percentage and claim cost by body part, type of injury, cause of injury, specific musculoskeletal disorder type, and as a function of age and gender injury rates. Results: Aviation claims entailed a median total cost of $26,941 and represented 8% of all closed claims filed in the state from 2014 to 2022. The grand total direct cost over the nine-year period was $75,404,147. Medical costs comprised 48.6% of all costs, indemnity 45.0%, and legal 6.4%. The most frequently injured body part was the hand/wrist (35.9%) followed by the shoulder (20.6%), and the most expensive body parts were related to the back. Overexertion (38.6%) was the most common cause followed by repetitive motion (22.8%). Work-related musculoskeletal disorders were the most common type accounting for 67.4% of all claims. Men and workers aged 55-64 incurred slightly higher claim rates than average. A sharp decrease in number of claims closed in 2021 coincided with production shutdowns the previous year related to the Covid-19 pandemic and design issues. Conclusions: Aviation manufacturing is a key industry in Kansas and this study is the first known to describe costs and frequencies of workplace injuries in the sector using workers' compensation data. Practical applications: This guide to the most problematic and costly injuries in aviation manufacturing helps practitioners prioritize prevention strategies to most effectively reduce workplace injury and helps safety and health practitioners in prioritizing prevention efforts to reduce the most severe and costly aviation manufacturing injuries and illnesses. It also brings attention to some special considerations when working with safety data from 2020 to 2022 related to the Covid-19 pandemic. © 2024 National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd

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