The primary focus of this study was to compare incidence and severity of strain/sprain injuries at two Oregon nurseries to the state calculations. The workforce of these nurseries was largely comprised of seasonal employees performing labor jobs requiring strenuous activity. Retrospective data from April 1990 - April 2000 from both the nurseries and the state was used to make comparisons.
A pre-placement screening program was utilized by one of the nurseries. The screening program was intended to assess the isometric lifting capabilities of new employees in an attempt to best match employees with the requirements of their job. The severity of injuries occurring each year was determined with the use of the severity index, a figure comprised of total medical plus indemnity costs per 100 full time employees.
Our hypothesis was that the nursery utilizing the pre-placement screening program would show a significantly lower severity index and incidence per year than the other nursery as well as the state calculations. Unfortunately, the comparison nursery ceased participation in the study without reporting the necessary numbers for comparison. Fortunately, the state numbers were available for comparison.
Using an unpaired t-test, assuming equal variances, the test nursery was found to have significantly lower severity indices than the state (p < .05). Conversely, the test nursery had a significantly higher incidence of these injuries (p < .05). Notably, increased reporting of injuries by the test nursery did not lead to increased cost to the employer.
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