Underreporting of work-related injury or illness to workers' compensation: individual and industry factors

J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Sep;48(9):914-22. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000226253.54138.1e.


Objective: We quantified the underreporting of work-related injury or illness to workers' compensation (WC).

Methods: Using data from 2612 wage-earning respondents who participated in the 2002 Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we assessed work-related injury or illness in the previous year and identified the factors associated with WC claim filing by logistic regression.

Results: The self-reported rate of work-related injury or illness of respondents was 13%. Among those who had a work-related injury or illness, 52% filed a WC claim. After adjustment for age, gender, and race, those who filed WC claims were more likely to be overweight and married. WC claim filing varies considerably across industry and occupation groups holding all other measured factors constant.

Conclusions: Individual and industry/occupation factors are related to underreporting of work-related injury or illness to the WC system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / classification
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*