Acute traumatic injuries in automotive manufacturing

Margaret Warner, Susan P. Baker, Guohua Li, Gordon S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Motor vehicle manufacturing, with its varied tasks, challenging work environment, and diverse worker populations, presents many hazards to employees. This study examined routinely collected surveillance data from a major motor vehicle manufacturer to identify injury types, high-risk workers, causes of injury, and factors associated with work loss. Injury and personnel data were used to calculate injury rates. Injury data were from the routinely collected medical and safety surveillance system on occupational injuries. The number of persons working in the plants was estimated using year-end personnel reports. Key word searches supplementing the analyses provided insight into the specific circumstances of injury. The most common injuries were sprains/strains (39% of the total), lacerations (22%), and contusions (15%). Forty-nine percent of the injuries resulted in one or more lost or restricted workdays; 25% resulted in 7 or more lost or restricted workdays. The injuries most likely to result in work loss were amputations, hernias and fractures. Sprains/strains accounted for 65% of all lost workdays. Injury rates ranged from 13.8 per 100 person-years at stamping plants to 28.7 at parts depots. Even within similar types of plants, injury rates varied widely, with a twofold difference among the individual assembly plants in overall injury rates. Injury surveillance systems with descriptive data on injury events shed light on the circumstances under which certain types of injuries occur and can provide the basis for preventive interventions. Sources of variation and potential biases are discussed, providing guidance for those interested in designing and using surveillance systems for occupational injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-358
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Automotive
  • Injury
  • Manufacturing
  • Occupational
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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