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We aimed to evaluate the occurrence of work-related injuries after Hurricane Sandy potentially related to response and recovery.
Emergency and hospital discharges (patients aged 18-65 years) with a diagnosis of unintentional injury were obtained from the New Jersey Department of Health. Work-related injuries were identified as those with a workers’ compensation payer or other work-related codes. Counties were categorized as high-, medium-, or low-impact areas. Poisson regression analysis was used to compare the rate of work-related injury the year following Sandy landfall with the 3 previous years.
Total work-related injuries declined the week immediately after Sandy (rate ratio [RR]: 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.69-1.05) and no overall increase was found in the year after Hurricane Sandy. However, high-impact counties showed an elevated risk of work-related injuries in the first and third quarters after Hurricane Sandy among men, especially for blacks and Hispanics. The greatest excesses occurred in the third quarter after the storm, May to July, for falls (RR: 1.30; 95% CI: 1.08-1.57), cut/pierce injuries (RR: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.09-1.40), struck-by injuries (RR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.02-1.34), and overexertion (RR: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.10-1.44).
Hospital data suggested an increase in injuries associated with rebuilding and recovery rather than with initial response. Future efforts aimed at prevention should evaluate the mechanisms and circumstances of injury in more detail. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:394–404)
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