Objectives. Using the social-ecological model, we hypothesized that the home residences of injured workers would be clustered predictably and geographically.
Methods. We linked health care and publicly available datasets by home zip code for traumatically injured workers in Illinois from 2000 to 2009. We calculated numbers and rates of injuries, determined the spatial relationships, and developed 3 models.
Results. Among the 23 200 occupational injuries, 80% of cases were located in 20% of zip codes and clustered in 10 locations. After component analysis, numbers and clusters of injuries correlated directly with immigrants; injury rates inversely correlated with urban poverty.
Conclusions. Traumatic occupational injuries were clustered spatially by home location of the affected workers and in a predictable way. This put an inequitable burden on communities and provided evidence for the possible value of community-based interventions for prevention of occupational injuries. Work should be included in health disparities research. Stakeholders should determine whether and how to intervene at the community level to prevent occupational injuries.
- At the time of the study, all of the authors were with the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.