Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Frequency of Workplace Injuries and Prevalence of Work-Related Disability

Seth A. Seabury, Sophie Terp, and Leslie I. Boden find that male foreign-born Hispanics had the highest rate of workplace injuries at 13.7 per thousand followed by black men at more than 12 per thousand. Using 2006-13 data from the American Community Survey and from the four most recent panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the authors evaluated the demographic variation in workplace injury and work-related disability. Men experienced a higher workplace injury rate than women, though women saw a greater range by race and ethnicity than men. Work-related disability rates for all minority groups aged 50 – 64 years (except “Other”) were higher than the rate for whites (e.g. non-Hispanic blacks with the highest rate of disability at 4.4 percent versus 2.5 percent among whites). While improved workplace health and safety policies may help alleviate some workplace injuries and disabilities, the authors underscore the role discrimination in hiring, promotion, and assignment may play in these disparities, and the resulting additional policies needed to tackle workplace injuries.

The full study is available at Health AffairsThe press release about the study is available here.

Citation: Seabury, S. A., Terp, S., & Boden, L. I. (2017). Racial and ethnic differences in the frequency of workplace injuries and prevalence of work-related disability. Health Affairs36(2), 266-273.