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Age related differences in work injuries and permanent impairment: a comparison of workers’ compensation claims among adolescents, young adults, and adults
  1. C Breslin,
  2. M Koehoorn,
  3. P Smith,
  4. M Manno
  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C Breslin, Institute for Work & Health, 481 University Ave., Suite 800, Toronto, ON M5G 2E9, Canada; 


Background: There is growing evidence that adolescent workers are at greater risk for work injury.

Aims: To investigate the severity of work injuries across age groups.

Methods: Workers’ compensation records were used to examine work related injuries among adolescents (15–19 years old), young adults (20–24 years old), and adults (25+ years old) between 1993 and 2000. The incidence of compensated injuries was calculated for each age group and compared by gender, industry, and type of injury. The presence and degree of permanent impairment in each age group was also examined.

Results: For males, adolescents and young adults had higher claim rates than adults. For females, adults had the highest claim rates and young adults the lowest. Rates of permanent impairment indicated that age was positively associated with severity of injury.

Conclusions: Indicators of health consequences, in particular presence of permanent impairment, provide preliminary evidence that compensated work injuries sustained by youth are not as serious as injuries sustained by adults. Nevertheless, there was evidence that some young workers sustain injuries that have long term consequences. Documenting the consequences of the injuries that young workers sustain has implications for secondary prevention efforts and health services policy.

  • lost time claims
  • permanent impairment
  • severity
  • young workers
  • ED, emergency department
  • LT, lost time
  • WMSD, work related musculoskeletal disorders

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