ISCRR CEO Alex Collie recently published the following article:
The following quote from the article illustrates one aspect of the problem with our data collection:
“One finding from this report is that fewer than 50% of the injuries reported in Australia in 2014 became accepted workers’ compensation claims.”
The article also highlights the relative absence of psychological health data being collected:
“Perhaps the best example of this is that very few mental health conditions are accepted in workers’ compensation schemes, yet as many as 20% of working age adults will have experienced a mental health condition in the past twelve months.”
Alex cites initiatives in the United States as a potential model to follow:
Alex’s article succinctly highlights the deficiencies in our data collection.
This blog is about the negative health impact of our compensation systems on individuals injured in the workplace. Consistent with this article, I am aware that in my local jurisdiction there are significant barriers to entry into the system. Indeed many well-intentioned doctors advise their patients against claiming because of the risks inherent in the system. Many claimants whose injuries become complex have their claims disputed and a significant proportion lose their entitlements. Almost all psychological claims seem to be disputed.
Measuring the health outcomes using workers compensation data is a flawed approach, particularly when many of the worst outcome cases are managed outside the system. We do need better methods to capture the data about health outcomes for those injured at work.
Our systems might work well for those with simple, visible and straightforward physical injuries, but probably do not for a significant proportion of injured workers, particularly those with complex secondary complications or pre-existing vulnerabilities.
As workers are encouraged to work into their senior years this will become even more important.
I commend Alex on his initiatives in more meaningful data collection.