Study: Permanent Workplace Injury Leads To Higher Premature Death RiskApril 17, 2015
A Canadian research study showed that workers who suffer from a permanent workplace injury have a higher risk of premature death. The Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health sampled data from 19,000 workers who suffered permanent workplace injuries. The study examined the physical, emotional, social, and psychological difficulties these workers encountered. The researchers found that workers between the ages of 25 and 39 who sustained a permanent workplace injury had a higher likelihood of early death.
Details of the Permanent Workplace Injury Study
The study, titled “Long-Term Mortality Risk in Individuals with Permanent Work-Related Impairment,” analyzed the data from workers who suffered a permanent workplace injury. The researchers then compared each study subject with ten workers who had never sustained a permanent workplace injury as a control group. Researchers tracked nearly twenty years’ worth of data from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the province’s equivalent to the U.S.’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Results of the Permanent Workplace Injury Study
According to study leader Dr. Heather Scott-Marshall, a permanent workplace injury can become “a crucial factor that predicts whether (workers) die early.” Dr. Scott-Marshall and her team found that the correlation between a permanent workplace injury and early death held true for both men and women. Male workers with a permanent workplace injury who participated in the study were 55 percent more likely to die early than their non-injured counterparts. Injured female workers had a 50 percent higher risk than non-injured workers.
Impact of Permanent Workplace Injuries
The study found that the effects of a permanent workplace injury can last long after the healing process has run its course. The IWH study also found that the risk of death increased sharply ten or more years after a permanent workplace injury. Dr. Scott-Marshall’s research has shown that workers often experience emotional difficulties while adjusting to life after their injuries. They may lose their sense of self-worth, contribution, or leadership in their social and family circles. These psychological issues can lead to addictive or destructive behaviors, which can also contribute to premature death.
Speculation About Permanent Workplace Injury Study
Dr. Scott-Marshall speculated about the reasons behind why younger workers experience premature death after a permanent workplace injury at a higher rate than other workers. She theorized that younger workers who suffer a permanent workplace injury “are less established in the labor market” at the time of their injuries. Their work may also be “more physical and less easy to go back to after the injury.” The psychological problems that can arise after such an injury “can also affect their ability to re-enter the labor market” and can lead to a loss of long-term economic stability.
Source: Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine
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