Incidence and predictors of onboard injuries among Sri Lankan flight attendants

Agampodi, Suneth B.; Dharmaratne, Samath D.; Agampodi, Thilini C.
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p227
Academic Journal
Background: Occupational injuries among flight attendants have not been given appropriate attention in Sri Lanka. The purpose of this study was to estimate the incidence of onboard injury among Sri Lankan flight attendants and to describe the determinants of onboard injury. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among Sri Lankan flight attendants. All flight attendants undergoing their annual health and first aid training were invited to participate. Flight attendants who flew continuously for a six-month period prior to data collection were included in the study sample. Recall history of injuries for a period of six months was recorded. Results: The study sample consisted of 98 (30.4%) male and 224 (69.6%) female flight attendants. The mean age of the study sample was 31 years (SD = 8) and the average duration of service was 10 years (SD = 7). A total of 100 onboard falls, slips or trips in the previous six months were reported by 52 (16.1%) respondents. Of the total sample, 128 (39.8%) cabin crew members reported an injury in the six months preceding the study. This represents a total injury incidence of 795 per 1000 person per year. The leading causes of injury was pulling, pushing or lifting (60.2%). The commonest type of injuries were strains and sprains (52.3%). Turbulence related injuries were reported by 38 (29.7%) flight attendants. The upper limbs (44.5%) and the back (32%) were the commonest sites affected. After controlling for other factors, female flight attendants had 2.9 times higher risk (95% CI 1.2-7.2) of sustaining and injury than males. Irrespective of sex, body weight less than 56 kilograms (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.4-5.8) and less than seven years of on board experience (OR 10.5, 95% CI 3.6-31.0) were associated with higher risk of injury. Conclusion: Work related injury is a major occupational hazard to flight attendants. Appropriate preventive strategies are required to minimize them.


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