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Students with more than 1 job more likely to be injured, study finds

Release Date: September 12, 2011
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

Madison, Wis. (September 12, 2011) – High school students who were enrolled in School-Sponsored Work Programs and were working multiple jobs were 1.6 times more likely to be injured on the job compared to those working one job, according to an article in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 110, no. 4). The study was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“While this is not a statistically significant finding, the elevated odds ratio does indicate that working multiple jobs has an effect on work-related injury,” the authors wrote about their study of students in Wisconsin’s five public health regions. Slightly more than half of the 6,810 respondents were employed during the school year, and 13.5 percent were enrolled in a school-sponsored work program.

Of the 461 students in a school-sponsored work program, 44 percent had more than one job, the study found. “Students working multiple jobs were more likely to work over 40 hours per week, more likely to work after 11 p.m. during the school week, more likely to be asked to do a dangerous task and more likely to report a near-miss incident at work,” the authors wrote.

The study also found that academic performance outcomes were worse for students working multiple jobs. Of the 204 students working more than one job, 9 percent did not expect to graduate, 43 percent cut or skipped classes three or more times and 45 percent had three or more unexcused absences.

WMJ Medical Editor John J. Frey, III, MD, noted the impressive commitment Wisconsin has made to school-sponsored work and acknowledged the value of linking classroom work to direct applications of learning. “This study should support questions about work outside of school as an essential part of adolescent physical exams, be they for sports or other activities or urgent care visits,” Dr. Frey wrote. “If students are working multiple jobs, our responsibility to them is to counsel them about the dangers of loss of concentration or the safety training that should be part of their job. … (Physicians) have a responsibility to counsel them to be mindful of dangers inherent in their work.”

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. The peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.

With nearly 12,500 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state and has been a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841. For details, visit www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org.

All articles published in the WMJ represent the views of the authors, for which neither WMJ nor the Wisconsin Medical Society take responsibility, unless clearly stated.