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B3.1 Research Needs and Priorities for Determining the Social and Economic Consequences of Occupational Illness and Injury-Boden, LI

Relative to other areas of occupational health and safety research, research on the social and economic consequences of occupational illness and injury is a newly emergent area with many opportunities for significant impact. This presentation reviews the strides made by recent research and discusses priority areas for additional research.

Recent studies have provided new understanding in several areas:

1. Low filing rates of workers' compensation claims for both chronic and acute illnesses and injuries, implying that a substantial undercount exists.

2. Measuring the out-of-pocket costs of workplace illnesses.

3. Determining that workers' compensation benefit payments cover only a small fraction of workers' out-of-pocket costs.

4. Specifying the considerable range of non-economic costs as a consequence of workplace injuries and illnesses incurred by workers and their families. These costs include problems maintaining their roles as spouses and parents, as well as anger and depression.

5. Initial determination of the most important factors in improving return-to-work outcomes.

Based on these research results, The NORA Social and Economic Consequences Team has developed research needs and priorities, with significant input from a 1999 conference. These include studies that:

1. Develop national estimates of occupational illness and injury impacts and track trends,

2. Estimate impacts on special worker populations.

3. Evaluate impacts on workers and their families.

4. Estimate non-workers' compensation injury and illness costs of firms and evaluation of current practices of firms in accounting for OSH investments and the costs of work hazards, injury and illness.

5. Develop and validate standardized instruments for collecting information on social and economic costs from employers and workers.

6. Evaluate the impacts of interventions on production costs.

7. Evaluate the impacts of interventions designed to improve return to work.

8. Develop accounting systems for unions and managers to measure the benefits and costs of reducing workplace hazards.


B3.2 Estimating the Social Burden of Occupational Illness and Injury in the United States-Amick B, Christiani D, Katz J

This paper presents a general approach for conceptualizing the social burden of injuries that focuses on the importance of social participation. Because of the diversity in the United States, a challenge in conceptualizing the social burden is to develop a framework which is generalizable to apply to the many types of workers and work situations, yet specific enough to allow operationalization of constructs.

Social participation in valued roles such as work, family, leisure and civic provides one way of beginning to develop a broad framework for understanding the social burden of occupational illness and injury. We illustrate the operationalization of these roles by introducing a new class of health outcome measures, generic role specific functioning measures. In particular we present new measures for measures of household and leisure time functioning and work limitations. Then we illustrate how these measures can be used to assess the social burden of occupational illness and injury. Finally, we consider the social burden of work-related disability on labor market participation and economic activity illustrating the important role of occupational health services in reducing the social burden.


B3.3 Creating an International Data Repository for Workers' Compensation Research-Beletz J, Cathey M

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) was formed in 1914 for the purpose of advancing standardized best practices in workers' compensation. After working 85 years on designing data collection systems and uniform statistical measures, the association has formed strategic alliances with stakeholders to begin a program of systematic and reliable collection of statistical data from workers' compensation administrations. This work is being conducted jointly with The Center for Workers' Compensation Studies, established to supplement the IAIABC committee research work and meet their educational and scientific research efforts.

To develop the data repository, the IAIABC sought innovative ideas and sound judgement for structuring the international data repository. As a result, a contract was awarded to provide technology, data warehouse, and consulting services in support of the repository. The vendor is providing a comprehensive range of customization, statistical and analytical tools to support rapid, low-risk and low-cost construction of IAIABC-specific claims. I addition, the vendor is providing coverage decision support applications including indemnity, medical, legal and associated claims costs.

The state-of-the-art decision support and data warehousing capability is based on an advanced claim, coverage, and workers' compensation data reporting system. The initial phase for the international data repository will include data from Release 1 First Report of Injury and IAIABC Core Data Elements for the calendar year 2000 and should consist of at least five (5) jurisdictional participation.

This system has the capability to integrate administrative, financial, and clinical information both within and across lines of business, administrative jurisdictions, industries, and risk.

The modular technology in the repository will make it possible for both rapid and incremental deployment catering to the current and future needs of those interested in workers' compensation issues, such as public policy research for preventing and managing work injury and illness.


B3.4 A Report on the Third International Conference on Measuring the Burden of Injury-Luchter S, MacKenzie EJ

A major issue in measuring injury outcomes is the applicability of methods and indices, originally developed for measuring the outcomes from medical treatment of disease, to the measurement of outcome from injury. The third in a series of international conferences on this issue was held in May, 2000 at which experts in injury outcomes from around the world gathered to discuss methods for measuring the burden of injury and hearing the results of recent research from their colleagues. The theme of the conference was "Towards Consensus."

Invited speakers made presentations covering health profiles and indices, preference based and quality of life measures, coding and classification of non-fatal injuries, and new developments in cost of injury. Keynote presentations included health status and quality of life measures, rehabilitation measures, and cost/effectiveness cost/benefit issues. Poster presentations covered research results related to quality of life and economic methods of measuring injury burden. Breakout sessions and open discussion periods focused on the theme issue of developing consensus on methods that could be applied by the international injury outcome research community. The views on injury outcome as seen by the World Health Organization were presented at the conference dinner.

A summary of the presentations and the poster abstracts are included in a proceedings published shortly after the conference. In addition to summaries of the presentations and posters the proceedings includes a discussion of the level of consensus reached and identification of issues that need additional research.

Considerable progress was made in identifying areas where additional research is needed in order to work towards consensus on methods of measuring injury burden. Preliminary plans were made for a follow-on conference to be held in 2002 in Canada.




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Page last updated: March 2001
Page last reviewed: March 2001
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research