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WCRI Aging Worker Injury Study versus My Assumptions – Who Wins?


WCRI Aging Worker Injury Study Goes Up Against My Assumptions From Experience

Andy over at WCRI was kind enough to provide me with a recent Flash Report to read over.  The WCRI aging Worker injury study covers many of the subjects I have noticed in Workers Comp claim with aging worker injuries.  Let us compare my study – that I l kept in my head to the study.

 vector graphic human body WCRI Aging Worker injury study
Creative Commons License 3.0 – OpenStax College

Dr. John Ruser (WCRI CEO) and Dr. Bogdan Savych performed the analysis.  If you have not read any of Dr. Savych’s studies on what happens to injured employees AFTER a claim is over, you are missing out on groundbreaking info that may cause you to handle your claims or employees differently. Trust me, those studies are worth the purchase and read.

A 17-year-old study may experience a few changes to its conclusions.  I will keep it as general here as possible.

NCCI has written a few studies on the aging workforce.  I may circle back to their studies next week.

My Assumptions on the WCRI Aging Worker Injury Study

In 2002, I had written a report for a physical therapy firm that was attempting to find out if aging workers required any more or different types of physical therapy modalities.

For clarification, I assumed an aging worker at 62 years and older, the initial Social Security retirement age.

My discoveries were:

  1. Older workers did not have a higher rate of injury – they were more careful and followed safety directions
  2. Older workers as expected did have a longer healing period
  3. Their motivation for return to work was much higher – very loyal employees
  4. #3 above equalized #2 – older workers worked with their injuries even if on a Temporary Partial basis.
  5. Falls were the number one cause of injury
  6. Overall, the risk of hiring an aging worker was no more than the general public.

Recent WCRI study

I am going to quote out of their press release.  Dr. John Ruser (who is a great person) made these comments:

“Our goal is to help system stakeholders consider possible challenges from changes in the age distribution of the workforce,” said John Ruser, president and CEO of WCRI. “This includes both the aging of the workforce and the entry of smaller groups of younger workers. Readers can use this information to create a balanced picture of how multiple metrics of workers’ compensation performance differ by age and how these metrics may vary with changes in external age-related factors shaping the population and the labor force.”

  1. Aging workers recovered slightly slower, but not enough to cause a concern
  2. The return to work period for older workers is not longer than the average  injured worker
  3. Falls were #1 cause of injury – when I reached 55, my family Dr. gave me the falls at home are the #1 injury by people over 55.  I felt older that day.
  4. #6 in my assumptions can be left to interpretation by reading the full study.

Good to Agree With WCRI

We were in agreed on most of the aging worker variables and comparisons.   WCRI goes much further into the analysis.   If you handle aging worker claims or are a risk manager with aging workers – the study is worth the more than reasonable $15.    When you go to the WCRI website, they will also offer you a Medical Price Index study freebies.   Check it out.  At the end of the study, the injury rates by ages are broken down into every category one can think of in Workers’ Comp.

To learn more about this study or to purchase a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/wcri-flashreport-how-do-claim-costs-components-of-costs-and-worker-outcomes-differ-by-age

Even though my report was 17 years old, I think it agreed overall with the WCRI Aging Worker Injury Study.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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