Author(s): Wadsworth EJ, Simpson SA, Moss SC, Smith AP
Background Accidents and injuries at work account for several million working days lost each year. Cognitive failures (problems of memory, attention or action) can lead to accidents and injuries in certain contexts.
Aim This work describes the prevalence and associations of workplace accidents, minor injuries and cognitive failures reported by respondents to a follow-up postal questionnaire as part of the community-based Bristol Stress and Health Study.
Methods Postal questionnaires were sent to 4673 people who participated in the first phase of the study (in which questionnaires were sent to individuals selected at random from the electoral roll).
Results Four per cent of workers reported an accident at work, 8% reported quite or very frequent minor injuries and 13% reported quite or very frequent cognitive failures. Accidents at work were associated with being male, smoking and higher negative job characteristics. Respondents reported workplace accidents at a level similar to the overall UK rate. Accidents and minor injuries, and minor injuries and cognitive failures, shared common associations and all three outcomes were associated with each other.
Conclusion Information about cognitive failures is important in the study of accidents and injuries at work. In addition, negative job characteristics represent part of the context in which human error is translated into injury.Journal of Ergonomics