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Keywords:

  • workers' compensation;
  • human rights;
  • disability;
  • social policy

Abstract

Injured workers, particularly those with more severe injuries, have long experienced workers' compensation systems as stressful and demeaning, have found it difficult to obtain benefits, and, when able to obtain benefits, have found them inadequate. Moreover, the last two decades have seen a substantial erosion of the protections offered by workers' compensation. State after state has erected additional barriers to benefit receipt, making the workers' compensation experience even more difficult and degrading. These changes have been facilitated by a framing of the political debate focused on the free market paradigm, employer costs, and worker fraud and malingering. The articles in this special issue propose an alternate framework and analysis, a human rights approach, that values the dignity and economic security of injured workers and their families. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:483–486, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.