IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 2462: Differences in Work and Commuting Accidents between Employees and Students at Higher Education Institutions in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, from December 2014 to December 2019 (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Accidents are one of the most important public health concerns because of their high prevalence and considerable health outcomes. Although higher education institutions (HEIs) play an important role in health promotion and disease prevention, accidents are rarely investigated in this setting. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to address this gap by analyzing the frequency and characteristics of employee and student accidents at HEIs in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. A dataset of all accidents that happened to employees and students at HEIs in Rhineland-Palatinate from December 2014 to December 2019 and the characteristics of these accidents was provided by the responsible statutory accident insurance (Accident Insurance Fund of Rhineland-Palatinate). Modified thousand-men quotas (the rate of injuries per 1000 people) were calculated to investigate the differences in frequencies and characteristics of accidents between employees and students, as well as between institutions. A total of 3810 accidents (n = 1326; 34.8% work and n = 2484; 65.2% commuting) were reported, of which 426 involved employees and 3384 involved students. The frequency and characteristics of the accidents varied between employees and students, as well as between institutions. Sports programs at HEIs for example imply high risks for unintentional injuries especially for students (as they make up the majority of participants). Other main findings are that medical students, as well as students of subjects including laboratory work, are at a higher risk to experience study-related accidents whereas employees seem to be at a higher risk when working in a technical field. The results call for the development of accident prevention concepts at HEIs and the implementation of interventions in respective institutions and target groups.