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Keywords:

  • aging workforce;
  • construction industry;
  • workers' compensation;
  • older workers;
  • occupational injury

Abstract

Background

A better understanding of how workers' compensation (WC) costs are affected by an aging US workforce is needed, especially for physically demanding industries, such as construction.

Methods

The relationship between age and injury type on claim costs was evaluated using a database of 107,064 Colorado WC claims filed between 1998 and 2008 among construction workers.

Results

Mean WC costs increased with increasing age for total cost (P < 0.0001), medical costs (P < 0.0001), and indemnity costs (P < 0.0001). For each one-year increase in age, indemnity, and medical costs increased by 3.5% and 1.1%, respectively. For specific injury types, such as strains and contusions, the association between age and indemnity costs was higher among claimants aged ≥65 compared to claimants aged 18–24.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that specific injury types may be partially responsible for the higher indemnity costs among older construction workers, compared with their younger coworkers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:356–366, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.