Health risk factors as predictors of workers' compensation claim occurrence and cost

Natalie V. Schwatka, Adam Atherly, Miranda J. Dally, Hai Fang, Claire V.S. Brockbank, Liliana Tenney, Ron Z. Goetzel, Kimberly Jinnett, Roxana Witter, Stephen Reynolds, James McMillen, Lee S. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the predictive relationships between employee health risk factors (HRFs) and workers' compensation (WC) claim occurrence and costs. Methods: Logistic regression and generalised linear models were used to estimate the predictive association between HRFs and claim occurrence and cost among a cohort of 16 926 employees from 314 large, medium and small businesses across multiple industries. First, unadjusted (HRFs only) models were estimated, and second, adjusted (HRFs plus demographic and work organisation variables) were estimated. Results: Unadjusted models demonstrated that several HRFs were predictive of WC claim occurrence and cost. After adjusting for demographic and work organisation differences between employees, many of the relationships previously established did not achieve statistical significance. Stress was the only HRF to display a consistent relationship with claim occurrence, though the type of stress mattered. Stress at work was marginally predictive of a higher odds of incurring a WC claim (p<0.10). Stress at home and stress over finances were predictive of higher and lower costs of claims, respectively (p<0.05). Conclusions: The unadjusted model results indicate that HRFs are predictive of future WC claims. However, the disparate findings between unadjusted and adjusted models indicate that future research is needed to examine the multilevel relationship between employee demographics, organisational factors, HRFs and WC claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Health risk assessment
  • Occupational injury
  • Small business
  • Total Worker Health
  • Worksite wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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