Surveillance of work-related cold injuries using workers’ compensation claims

Thomas Sinks, C. G.Toby Mathias, William Halperin, Clifton Timbrook, Sandy Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The usefulness of workers’ compensation claims for the surveillance of occupational injuries was evaluated by analyzing claims for cold injury. Five hundred ten claims filed in 1983 from 23 states participating in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Supplementary Data System and an additional 147 claims filed with the Division of Safety and Hygiene of the Industrial Commission of Ohio from Jan 1, 1984, to June 30, 1985, were examined. As expected, the number of injuries per winter day increased as temperature decreased and wind speed increased. The rate of injury began to increase when temperatures fell below 10°F and wind speeds exceeded 10 mph. These weather conditions were milder than previously published cold hazard charts suggest. Frostbite injuries of the lower extremities occurred at milder temperatures, required more lost workdays, and were more costly than cold injuries to the head and face or to the upper extremities. Industries with the highest rates of injury included agriculture, oil and gas extraction, trucking and warehousing, protective services, and interurban transportation. Injuries during nonwinter months involved the processing, distribution, and preparation of food. Vehicle breakdown or contact with water, gasoline, alcohol, or cold water were noted as contributing factors on many of the compensation claims. This probe suggests that claims for workers’ compensation adequately reflect the expected association of environmental factors and the occurrence of cold injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-509
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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