Incidence Rates, Costs, Severity, and Work-Related Factors of Occupational Dermatitis: A Workers’ Compensation Analysis of Oregon, 1990-1997 | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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Study
June 2005

Incidence Rates, Costs, Severity, and Work-Related Factors of Occupational Dermatitis: A Workers’ Compensation Analysis of Oregon, 1990-1997

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Minnesota Industrial Relations Center, Minneapolis (Dr McCall); University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston (Dr Horwitz); Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC (Dr Feldman); and The Ohio State University, Columbus, (Dr Balkrishnan).

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(6):713-718. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.6.713
Abstract

Objectives  To extend and update past research on occupational dermatitis by examining recent workers’ compensation claims data.

Design  Retrospective analysis of workers’ compensation claims from Oregon (1990-1997).

Setting  All dermatitis-related workers’ compensation claims were merged with US census data to estimate rates of dermatitis by age, sex, occupation, and industry. Associated claim costs and disability times were also calculated from these data.

Participants  All individuals with accepted dermatitis claims (N  =  611) were included in the analyses.

Main Outcome Measures  The overall claim rates of individuals by age, sex, industry, and occupation were estimated. Total costs and average disability time were computed. Monthly patterns of dermatitis claims were examined.

Results  The average claim rate of occupational dermatitis was estimated to be 5.73 per 100 000 workers (95% confidence interval, 5.66-5.80). Statistically significant differences (P<.001) in claim rates by age, sex, industry, and occupation were found. More than 47% of all claimants had 1 year of job tenure or less. Employees in the farming, forestry, and fishing occupations and industries had significantly higher claim rates compared with employees in other occupations. The average cost per claim was $3552, and the average disability time was 23.9 days. Some temporal trends in claim rates were observed.

Conclusions  Occupational dermatitis remains a significant problem in workplace settings. In addition, certain types of occupations and industries seem to be particularly affected by occupational dermatitis. Interventions may be particularly valuable for workers with little job tenure.

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