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Keywords:

  • workers' compensation;
  • work injuries;
  • reporting;
  • survey;
  • severity;
  • claim;
  • behavior

Abstract

Background

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are injured workers who do not file for workers' compensation (WC). Several recent studies support this, and we aim to quantify the extent of under-reporting.

Methods

A Canadian survey asked about work injuries in the previous year, and several questions established eligibility for WC and whether a claim had been filed. The proportion of eligible injuries with a claim was estimated. Logistic regression identified predictors of claim submission.

Results

Of 2,500 respondents, 143 had incurred an eligible injury, of whom 57 (40%, 95% CI 32–48%) had not filed a WC claim. Severity of injury was the strongest predictor of not claiming.

Conclusions

Survey respondents reported a substantial degree of under-claiming of WC benefits, contrasting with public attention on fraudulent over-claiming. Policy makers should ensure that all relevant parties are aware of their obligations to report work injuries. This will create a more accurate picture of work safety. Am. J. Ind. Med. 42:467–473, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.