Education, job insecurity affect worker outcomes: study

Cambridge, MA – Workers who lack a high school diploma are likely to miss more work after an injury than workers with more extensive educational backgrounds, according to a study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

That was one of several findings presented by WCRI during an Oct. 16 webinar. Researchers analyzed data from more than 3,200 workers who were injured in 2010 and interviewed in 2013 to track their progress in regard to speed and sustainability of return to work, health recovery, earnings recovery, access to health care and other factors.

The main predictors of worker outcomes included:

  • Education: Twenty percent of respondents who lacked a high school diploma were not working due to an injury in 2013, compared with 11 percent of college graduates.
  • Multiple diseases: Respondents who had more than one condition, such as hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, were less likely to have returned to work.
  • English language proficiency: Twenty-six percent of participants interviewed in Spanish said they had significant problems finding desired health care, compared with 13 percent of those interviewed in English.
  • Fear of being fired: Twenty-one percent of workers who “strongly” agreed that they feared losing their jobs before being injured had not returned to work, compared with 10 percent who strongly or somewhat disagreed.