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35.1 Percent of Workers Report Work-Related Health Problems

Construction is the industry with the highest prevalence of work-related health problems

roofer working in the sun

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-third of employed individuals report work-related health problems, according to research published in the April 3 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Hannah Free, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the lifetime prevalence of self-reported work-related health problems for the currently employed population using data from the 2018 version of the SummerStyles survey.

The researchers found that 35.1 percent of employed respondents had ever experienced a work-related health problem, with back pain being the most commonly reported work-related health problem (19.4 percent). Overall, 14.7 percent of respondents reported a work-related injury that necessitated medical treatment. Construction was the industry with the highest prevalence of any work-related health problem (48.6 percent). There was no significant variation noted in the prevalence of work-related health problems by sex, but significant variation was seen by age, education, and race/ethnicity.

"Because respondents who left the workforce because of a work-related health problem, retirement, family commitments, or other reasons were not captured by this analysis, these results are still not capturing the entirety of work-related illnesses and injuries in the United States," the authors write.

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