Occupational medicine clinical practice data reveal increased injury rates among Hispanic workers
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BACKGROUND: Minnesota has an ethnically diverse labor force, with the largest number of refugees per capita in the United States. In recent years, Minnesota has been and continues to be a major site for immigrant and refugee resettlement in the United States, with a large population of both immigrant and native born Hmong, Hispanic, and East Africans. This study seeks to evaluate the injury risk among the evolving minority workforce in the Minnesota Twin Cities region. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study identifying work-related injuries following pre-employment examinations was performed using electronic health records from a large multi-clinic occupational medicine practice. Preplacement examinations and subsequent work-related injuries were pulled from the electronic health record using representative ICD-10 codes for surveillance examinations and injuries. This study included patient records collected over a 2-year period from January 1, 2015, through December, 2016. The patients in this cohort worked in a wide-array of occupations including production, assembly, construction, law enforcement, among others. RESULTS: Hispanic minority workers were twice as likely to be injured at work compared with White workers. Hispanics were 2.89 times more likely to develop back injuries compared with non-Hispanic workers, and 1.86 times more likely to develop upper extremity injuries involving the hand, wrist, or elbow. CONCLUSION: Clinical practice data shows that Hispanic workers are at increased risk for work-related injuries in Minnesota. They were especially susceptible to back and upper extremity injuries. Lower injury rates in non-Hispanic minority workers, may be the result of injury underreporting and require further investigation.
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