Few studies have examined seizures, accidental injuries at work, and reasons for resignation in people with epilepsy (PWE). We performed a questionnaire survey of PWE to identify the risk of injury at work, its relationship to different seizure characteristics, and reasons for resignation.
We distributed a questionnaire survey in the outpatient clinic of a single epilepsy center. Medical information was obtained retrospectively from medical records.
Of 200 patients who received the questionnaire, 172 responded. Two-fifths of PWE had experienced seizures at work, but the risk of accidental injuries due to epileptic seizures was only 0.01 person/year (1.0%) and 0.018 injuries/year, whereas the risk of accidental injuries not related to seizures was 0.039 person/year (3.9%) and 0.083 injuries/year. All accidental injuries due to seizures at work were caused by seizures characterized by a fall and inappropriate behavior with impaired awareness. Most accidental injuries due to seizures at work were caused by seizures that occurred at least once a year. The types of injuries reported were bruising, abrasion, laceration, fracture, burn, and submersion injuries. A quarter of PWE had left previous jobs because of epilepsy, of these, about four-fifths reported that seizures at the workplace had interfered with their own or others’ tasks.
The risk of seizure-related injury is not high compared to the risk of injury not related to seizures, and most injuries due to seizures are not severe. The features of seizures with a fall, impaired awareness, and inappropriate behavior, as well as seizure frequency, should be considered when evaluating the risks associated with seizures in the workplace. Most PWE who had left their previous job because of epilepsy had experienced seizures at the workplace interfering with their own or others’ tasks.
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