Objective Many of the demographic and labour market characteristics of workers that are associated with the risk of work-related injury and disability are well-known. However, the characteristics of workers who have multiple workers’ compensation claims in a defined period of time is less clearly understood. This study estimates the extent to which industries, occupations or injury characteristics are associated with a higher risk for the registration of repeat claims. We present a parallel analysis of Ontario, Canada, and Victoria, Australia to determine if there aredifferences in repeat claim patterns between these two jurisdictions.
Methods First lost-time claims of greater than ten days of wage-replacement benefits were identified in the period January 2000 to December 2004 using administrative records of workers’ compensation claims. Claimants were followed prospectively for subsequent claims for 5 years from the date of the first claim to estimate the risk for a repeat claim by industry, occupation and injury characteristics.
Results The five year cumulative incidence of an initial claim in Victoria (14.5/1000 person years) was twice the rate observed in Ontario (7.6/1000 person years) The probability of a second lost-time claim of ten days or longer duration within 5 years of the date of the first injury was 0.25 in Victoria and 0.12 in Ontario. The probability of a second claim was related to age, sex, nature of injury, occupation and industry. The distribution of characteristics of second injuries was similar between Ontario and Victoria.
Conclusion This study has used population-based work disability insurance records to compare the incidence of repeat compensation claims in two jurisdictions. Despite differences in scheme benefit policies, this study has found broadly similar patterns in the two settings. The potential for causal inference regarding risk factors for repeat claims is discussed.
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