Examining the impact of occupational health and safety vulnerability on injury claim reporting in three Canadian provinces

Publication type
Journal article
Nadalin V, Smith PM
Date published
2020 Feb 01
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Open Access?

INTRODUCTION: The workers' compensation system covers wages and health care costs associated with work-related injuries or illnesses. We explore if dimensions of occupational health and safety vulnerability are associated with differences in reporting work-related injuries to workers' compensation boards (WCBs). METHODS: We examined data from adults reporting physical workplace injuries requiring time off or health care. We explored relationships between exposure to nine hazards, risk from inadequate policies and procedures, inadequate occupational health and safety (OHS) awareness, inadequate empowerment, and reporting to provincial WCBs. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to assess risk from dimensions of workplace vulnerability for not reporting an injury to WCBs. RESULTS: Of 326 participants, 64% did not report injuries to WCBs. Reporting was higher among those with hazardous workplace exposures compared to those without (40% vs 22%, P = .01), lower among those with inadequate policy and procedures and inadequate awareness protections. Inadequate OHS awareness protection was related to not reporting to WCBs in logistic regression models. Women, those working part-time, workers in education, health, and public administration, and non-unionized workers were less likely to report injuries (nonsignificant), while workers with postgraduate educations were significantly less likely to report an injury compared to referent (OR = 3.89, 95% CI: 1.57-9.62). CONCLUSION: A general lack of knowledge about OHS rights and responsibilities was associated with low levels of reporting. This suggests there is a knowledge deficit among some workers, possibly amenable to joint efforts to increase rights and responsibilities related to OHS with the dissemination of information about rights to workers' compensation