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Examining the decline in lost-time claim rates across age groups in Ontario between 1991 and 2007


Objectives Given the tendency for young people to show elevated work injury rates, this study sought to examine trends in young worker and adult compensation claim rates in a Canadian province.

Methods Workers' compensation records and labour force survey data from 1991 to 2007 were used to compute claim rates by age group. To examine the contribution of work-related factors to claim rates by age group, multivariate analyses included industry and job tenure.

Results Descriptive analysis showed that age groups had different rates of declines over the time period. Multivariate analyses showed that claim rate declines for older adults were greatest prior to 1999. Young workers showed the largest declines after 1999. There was no indication that changes in industry or job tenure accounted for the trends in claim rates among older or younger workers.

Conclusions This study is one of the first to show a convergence in youth and adult workers' compensation claims in a North American jurisdiction. Ruling out work-related factors increases the possibility that systemic interventions may have contributed to the convergence. This provides policy makers in occupational health and safety with empirical data to guide targeting of resources.

  • Occupational health
  • adolescent
  • age differences
  • time trends
  • workers' compensation
  • occupational health practice
  • injury

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