Indicators of Occupational Health and Safety: Hospitalizations from work-related burns - MN Dept. of Health

Work-Related Burns Requiring Hospitalization

To track the incidence of hospitalizations for burns related to work activity, this indicator utilizes data from hospital discharge records. 

cook at grillAlthough work-related hospitalized burns are unusual events they are some of the most devastating, painful, and expensive injuries to treat.   Many burns result in disfigurement, often leaving the individual unable to maintain their current position in the workforce.  NIOSH estimated that there are 150,000 work-related burns treated in emergency rooms each year in the U.S.  An estimated 30 to 40% of all burns are work-related, with younger people and males more frequently hurt.  Development of new prevention methods for these injuries, as well as evaluation of new intervention measures, could be possible with the information gathered by this indicator.

Hospital discharge records include information on the payor(s) of the medical services and other costs. For this indicator, hospitalizations involving burns in which workers’ compensation is the payor are considered work-related.    However, many work-related burns requiring hospitalization are not paid by workers’ compensation and would not be counted in this indicator. If a provider is unaware, or an employee fails to report that the injury occurred during a work-related activity, workers’ compensation would not be the payor.  In addition, farmers, independent contractors, federal employees, longshoremen, and maritime workers are not eligible for state workers compensation.   All of these factors will result in an undercounting of work-related burns that require hospitalization.

The numbers of work-related burns requiring hospitalization for both 2009 (22 cases) and 2010 (24 cases) were half of the yearly average during 2000-2011 (48 cases). In 2010 the average age of an individual suffering a work-related burn requiring hospitalization was 38 years of age.  Approximately 92% of all work-related burn victims were male, a pattern consistent across all 12 years. 

Number and Rate of Work-Related Burns Requiring Hospitalization in Minnesota (Age 16 or Greater), 2000-2011

Year Number Rate per 100,000 employed persons ≥ 16 years of age
2000 67 2.5
2001 65 2.4
2002 75 2.7
2003 61 2.2
2004 61 2.2
2005 61 2.2
2006 51 1.8
2007 35 1.3
2008 38 1.4
2009 22 0.8
2010 24 0.9
2011 18 0.7

Crude Rate of Work-Related Burns Requiring Hospitalization per 100,000 Employed Persons (Age 16 or Greater), 2000-2011

Rate of burns related to work between 2000 and 2011 in Minnesota, data available in table above

Trend analysis of the number and rate of work-related burns requiring hospitalization from 2000 to 2011 depicts a statistically non-significant decreasing trend.  Continued surveillance and prevention programs are necessary to further reduce the number of work-related burns. Unfortunately, an individual’s occupation is not consistently collected at the time of hospitalization making it difficult to identify at risk populations from this data source.

Return to Indicators of Occupational Health and Safety

Updated Monday, April 07, 2014 at 09:14AM