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Open Access Original research

Compensation patterns following occupational injuries in Zambia: results from the 2009 Labour Survey

Seter Siziya1, Adamson S Muula2*, Amanda Ryan3 and Emmanuel Rudatsikira4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

2 Department of Public Health, Division of Community Health, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi

3 WAHSA programme and Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA

4 Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, California, USA

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International Archives of Medicine 2010, 3:19  doi:10.1186/1755-7682-3-19

Published: 8 September 2010



Occupational injuries have received limited research attention in the Southern African Development Community. Much of the published data come from South Africa and little has been reported elsewhere within the region. The present study was conducted to estimate the prevalence rates of occupational injuries and compensation; and to determine factors associated with occupational injuries and compensation.


Data were obtained from occupational health and injury questions added to the Zambian Labour Force Survey of 2009 by the Work and Health in Southern Africa programme. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the degree of association between demographic, social and economic factors on one hand and injury and compensation on the other.


Data on 61871 study participants were available for analysis, of whom 4998 (8.1%) reported having been injured (10.0% of males, and 6.2% of females) due to work in the previous 12 months to the survey. Of those injured, 60.5% reported having stayed away from work as a result. The commonest type of injury was "open wound" (81.6%). Male gender, being married or married before, being a paid employee, working for a private company and household were positively associated with serious injuries. Injuries also varied by geographical area. Factors positively associated with receiving compensation for work-related injuries were: male gender, Copperbelt and North-Western provinces, and unpaid family worker. Employer/self employed and having less than 5 employees in a workplace were negatively associated with compensation.


The prevalence of reported injury and its association with a significant level of absence from work, indicate that occupational hazards in Zambia have significant health and economic effects. Female workers should equally be compensated for injuries suffered as their male counterparts.