Workplace compensation claims datasets represent an important source of information on work-related injuries. This study investigated the concordance between hospital discharge records and workers' compensation records for work-related serious injuries among a cohort of sawmill workers in British Columbia (BC), Canada. It also examined the extent to which workers' compensation capturing patterns varied by cause, severity of injuries, and demographic characteristics of workers.
Work-related injuries were identified in hospitalization records between April 1989 and December 1998, and were matched by dates and description of injury to compensation records.
The agreement between the hospital records and compensation records was good (κ = 0.84, P < 0.01). A lower claim reporting rate for work-related hospitalization was observed for older and non-white workers. More serious injuries defined by longer length of stay and emergency admissions were more likely to be reported. Falls, struck against, and overexertion injuries had lower reporting rates; whereas, machinery-related, cutting/piercing, and caught in/between injuries had higher reporting rates.
When compared with hospital discharge records, the compensation agency underreported incidents of serious work-related injuries by 10–15% among the sawmill workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.