Workers involved in small-scale manufacturing businesses are known to comprise a high-risk population for occupational injury. The present study investigated the prevalence and correlates of occupational injury in this population. A self-administered questionnaire that solicited answers about occupational information including injury, demographic characteristics, health conditions and lifestyle factors was collected from a sample of 1,298 workers in 228 small-scale manufacturing enterprises (defined as fewer than 50 workers) aged 16-78 (mean 46) yr in Yashio city, Saitama, Japan (response rate 65.5%). The enterprises were randomly selected from the 2000 edition of the city commercial directory corresponding to the distribution of types of businesses in the city. Occupational injury was assessed by asking subjects, `Have you ever been injured during your work, including minor scratches and cuts in the previous 1-yr period?' The possible response was either `yes' or `no.' The prevalence of study-defined occupational injury among the workers was 35.6% (male 43.0%, female 17.9%). Among job types, manufacturing (44.2%) and driving (43.5%) had high rates of occupational injuries. Similarly, occupational injuries were high in the papermaking (54.5%) and machinery (47.7%) industries. For males, younger age, current or former smoking, insomnia symptoms, and disease(s) currently under treatment were correlated with injury, whereas for females, being unmarried, higher educational status, and insomnia symptoms were the correlating factors. Occupational injury is common among small-scale manufacturing businesses, and is associated with multiple controllable factors. Countermeasures such as prohibiting smoking during work, sleep health education, job safety training for young/inexperienced workers are appropriate methods for eliminating or reducing injuries.
2006 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health