Employee health and frequency of workers' compensation and disability claims

J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Sep;51(9):1041-8. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181b32071.


Objective: To assess the relationship between self-assessed employee health risk status and future workers' compensation (WC) and short-term disability (STD) claims.

Methods: A historical cohort study linking Health Risk Assessment (HRA) survey data with subsequent WC and STD claims. HRA participants who developed a WC or STD claim in the subsequent 12 months were identified as cases and compared with HRA participants who did not develop a claim in the subsequent 12 months.

Results: High-risk participants had higher odds of filing a WC claim, when compared with low-risk participants (OR: 2.99, 95% CI: 1.22 to 7.32) despite adjustment for demographic factors including job type. Medium-risk participants had 1.5 times higher odds, when compared with low-risk participants to file for STD (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.82). Other relationships trended similarly but did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: Self-assessed personal health risk does impact future lost productivity in WC and STD claims even after adjustment for demographic, health factors, and job type (WC only). Employers wishing to reduce the impact of lost productivity should consider a worker's personal health risks as predictors of future lost productivity and may want to address this in broad risk reduction programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee / economics
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insurance Claim Review / economics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Health*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • United States
  • Workers' Compensation / economics*
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data