Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of the immersion protection requirements of a voluntary safety standard for portable handheld hair dryers in preventing electrocution deaths in the USA.
Methods The present work was an interrupted time series study design. Data on annual hair dryer-related electrocution deaths resulting from water contact were developed for the 1980–2007 study period. A multivariate Poisson regression model for rate data was used to evaluate the impact of the immersion protection requirements during the post-intervention period. The analysis controlled for the estimated number of hair dryers in use and the estimated number of US homes equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters, safety devices that would address hair dryer electrocutions even in the absence of the immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard. The implementation of the 1987 and 1991 immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard for portable handheld hair dryers was the intervention studied. The main outcome measure was the estimated reduction in the hair dryer electrocution rate associated with the immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard.
Results After controlling for covariates, the immersion protection requirements were estimated to reduce the rate of hair dryer immersion electrocution deaths by 96.6% (95% CI, 90.8% to 98.8%). This suggests the prevention of about 280 immersion electrocution deaths involving hair dryers during the post-intervention period (1987–2007).
Conclusions The immersion protection requirements of the voluntary safety standard for hair dryers have been highly effective in reducing hair dryer electrocutions.
- hair dryers
- poisson regression
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