Accidents and injuries among U.S. Navy crewmembers during extended submarine patrols, 1997 to 1999

T. L. Thomas*, A. L. Parker, W. G. Horn, D. Molé, R. Spiro, T. I. Hooper, F. C. Garland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Accidents and injuries, the most common cause of morbidity in military populations, result in a significant number of work days lost each year and account for 75% of all active duty deaths. Rates of accidents and injuries during U.S. Navy submarine deployments have not been evaluated previously. A database designed to monitor the health of submarine crewmembers was used to examine the rates and causes of accidents among deployed crewmembers aboard 196 submarine patrols between 1997 and mid 1999. The most common category of injuries was open wounds, followed by sprains and strains, contusions, superficial injuries, burns, and others. Rates of accidents and injuries decreased with increasing age and duration of military service. Among submariners working in supply departments, the rates were more than two times those of crewmembers working in other departments. Based on these data, among a submarine crew of 100 men at sea for 100 days, approximately four to five accidents or injuries might be expected and would result in an average of about 2 days of light or no duty per injury. Rates of accidents and injuries were very low; however, focused safety training could reduce rates among younger and less experienced crewmembers as well as among those working in particular areas of the submarine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-540
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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