Workers' compensation Transportation

Massachusetts releases analysis of workers’ comp claims

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Boston — Injury and illness prevention efforts are most needed in Massachusetts’ transportation and warehousing industry, results of a recent analysis of workers’ compensation claims show.

Researchers from the state’s departments of Public Health, Industrial Accidents and Labor Standards examined more than 92,000 workers’ comp lost-wage claims filed for injuries or illnesses among private-sector workers in Massachusetts between 2014 and 2016. The data was used to identify how workers were injured or made ill, the most common injuries and illnesses, and injury rates by industry and job type.

Workers in transportation and warehousing accounted for a claims rate of 29.3 per 1,000 full-time workers – well ahead of construction (18.3), wholesale trade (13.4) and the overall average rate of 10.9. Among industry subsectors, couriers and messengers topped the list with a claims rate of 46.4, followed by truck transportation (34.2).

The most common injury category was overexertion and bodily reaction (nearly 38%), followed by slip, trip or fall (29%). Distribution of many injuries varied by gender, but overexertion was the most common among both males (30%) and females (28%).

 

“These injuries and illnesses are preventable, and better information about where and how individuals are injured or made ill at work is essential to focus prevention resources where they are needed most,” the researchers state in a report of their findings. Other highlights:

  • Injuries accounted for more than 95% of the claims, while about 4% were illness related – “a finding consistent with reports from other states that work-related illnesses are poorly captured in [workers’ comp] claims.”
  • Males accounted for 57% of the claims, with a rate of 11.4 per 1,000 full-time workers.
  • The claim rate for females (9.0) was 27% lower than that of males.
  • Among age groups, workers 55 to 64 had the highest claim rate (12.6).
  • Most of the injuries were sprains and strains (51%), followed by contusions, crushings and bruises (12%); fractures (9%); and cuts, lacerations and punctures (8%).
  • In the youngest age group (16-24), overexertion in lifting/pushing (22%) was nearly equaled by being struck by objects (20%).
  • For workers 65 and older, falls on the same level were most common (36%).

The report was published online Nov. 27 by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.

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