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Int J Occup Environ Health. 1998 Oct-Dec;4(4):209-16.

The economic and social consequences of work-related musculoskeletal disorders: the Connecticut Upper-Extremity Surveillance Project (CUSP).

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Ergonomic Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030-6210, USA.


A population-based telephone survey was conducted in Connecticut to determine the social and economic impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). Only 10.6% of cases had filed for workers' compensation. Respondents had spent an average of $489 annually out-of-pocket. Only 21% of individuals who had had medical visits or procedures reported having them paid for by workers' compensation. The WRMSD cases reported much higher levels of difficulty in daily tasks rated by the activities of daily living (ADL) scale, with odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 8.2 (child care) to 35.2 (bathing). The cases were significantly more likely to have moved for financial reasons (OR = 2.41), including having lost a home (OR = 3.44). The cases were also significantly more likely to have lost a car due to finances (OR = 2.45), more likely to have been divorced (OR = 1.91), and less likely to have been promoted (OR = 0.45). The study supports significant externalization of costs for WRMSD out of the workers' compensation system and a substantial social and economic impact on workers.

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