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65 The incidence and impact of recurrent workplace injury and disease, Victoria, Australia
  1. R R Ruseckaite
  1. Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

Objectives To determine the incidence and impact of recurrent workplace injury and disease over the period 1995 to 2008 in Victoria, Australia.

Methods This was a population-based cohort study using data from the state workers’ compensation system database. A total of 448,868 workers with an accepted workers’ compensation claim between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2008 were included into this study. Descriptive statistics were used to provide an overview of initial (first claim of a worker) and recurrent (second or subsequent claim of a worker) claims by gender, nature of affliction (injury or disease) and type of benefits paid (income replacement and medical expenses). Two outcomes were considered in this study: the rates of initial and recurrent injury and disease over the 14 year period; and the number of compensated days away from work, which was used as the indicator of ‘work disability’.

Results Over the study period 448,868 workers lodged 972,281 claims for discrete occurrences of work-related injury or disease. 53.4% of these claims were for recurrent injury or disease. On average, the rates of initial claims dropped by 5.6% per annum, while the rates of recurrent injuries decreased by 4.1%. In total, workplace injury and disease resulted in 188,978 years of loss in full time work, with 104,556 of them being for the recurrent injury.

Conclusions Recurrent work-related injury and disease is associated with a substantial social and economic impact. There is an opportunity to reduce the social, health and economic burden of workplace injury by enacting secondary prevention programs targeted at workers who have incurred an initial occupational injury or disease.

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