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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Jul 30;59(29):897-900.

Proportion of workers who were work-injured and payment by workers' compensation systems - 10 states, 2007.


Work-related injuries are a major cause of morbidity in the United States, with approximately 4 million employer-reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2007. Currently, few population-based state-level estimates of nonfatal occupational injury rates exist. In the few extant studies, self-reported, nonfatal occupational injury rates exceed estimates based on employer reports or state workers' compensation systems. To estimate the proportion of workers who were work-injured during the preceding 12 months and the proportion of those injured for whom workers' compensation insurance programs paid for medical care, 10 states added a module to their 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. This report summarizes the results of that survey, which found that the proportion of workers who were work-injured during the preceding 12 months ranged from 4.0 to 6.9 work-injured persons per 100 employed persons (Kentucky and New York, respectively). The proportion of self-reported work-injured persons for whom medical treatment was paid by workers' compensation insurance ranged from 47% in Texas to 77% in Kentucky. This study shows the feasibility of complementing existing occupational injury surveillance through the use of population-based surveys. States that wish to enhance existing occupational injury surveillance should consider similar studies. Additional research is needed to understand the reasons for nonpayment of worker-reported occupational injuries by workers' compensation insurance programs.

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