Changing Work Injury Trends


Changing Work Injury Trends


In the early 1950s workers compensation claims had a preponderance of incident-based physical injuries including cuts and bruises from interface with machinery, and slip and fall impact injuries.

By the 1960s the mix of injuries changed to include a large percentage of over-exertion claims, and by the 1970s some studies showed back injuries accounted for about 30 percent of all claims. This situation raises the question:

Sprain injuries have grown not because we lift more things today, as we have more lifting aids, robots and bulk handling than any earlier period.

Soft tissue injuries, primarily of the wrist and shoulder became more prevalent in the 1980s, when the term repetitive strain injury (RSI) was invented. Some people called RSI “Kangaroo Paw” because Australia apparently had one of the highest reported incidence rates of this type of injury in the world. Psychological and stress-related illness was almost non-existent at this time.

By the mid-1980s stress claims had grown in workers compensation numbers and cost in many jurisdictions.


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