Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Emergency room visits as a proxy for injury numbers?

The under-reporting of workplace injuries is widespread in Canada because governments rely on workers’ compensation claim data. Cameron Mustard and colleagues have released a new study examining the utility of emergency room records for providing a more accurate picture of the frequency of workplace injuries.

Among their findings is the observation that the “frequency of emergency department visits for work-related causes was approximately 60% greater than the annual incidence of accepted lost-time compensation claims” (p. 3). Lost-time claims are among the most serious of workplace-injuries.

This outcome broadly jives with previous research on under-reporting of serious injuries in WCB data. The authors note some important and quite interesting discrepancies between the two data sets on the basis of age and gender.

-- Bob Barnetson

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