Work-related injury and illness in the Victorian healthcare sector: A retrospective analysis of workers' compensation claim records

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Objective: Health and social care workers have a significantly higher rate of work-related injury and illness than workers in other industries. The objective of this study was to examine the rate and distribution of work-related injury and illness in the Victorian health and social care sector by demographic, occupation and injury characteristics. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted of population-level workers' compensation claim records, including 43 910 claims from the Victorian health and social care over a 10-year period from 2006 to 2015. Negative binomial regression was used to compare claim rates between occupation categories. Results: The 55-64 year age group had the highest injury rate compared with the 15-24 year age group (rate ratio 2.26 95% confidence interval 1.91-2.68). Ambulance officers had the highest overall injury claim rates and had a fluctuating trend of musculoskeletal, psychological and neurological injury claims during the study period. Social workers had the second highest rate of psychological injury and up to threefold the risk of psychological injury compared with nurse professionals. Conclusions: Although the greatest volume of claims was observed in nurses, ambulance officers and paramedics were at higher risk for injury, followed by social workers. The differential patterns of injury and illness among occupation groups suggests a need for primary and secondary prevention responses tailored by occupation. What is known about the topic?: The health and social care industry is a large and diverse industry. Health and social care workers encounter unique occupational health risks, with exposure varying by occupation. What does this paper add?: This study provides evidence of a high rate of work-related injury and illness among health and social care workers, with ambulance officers and social workers at highest risk. Notably, there are also high rates of psychological injury claims among these two occupations. What are the implications for policy makers?: This study compares rates of compensable injury and illness in the Victorian health and social care sector by occupation. The study provides guidance on which occupations and which health conditions require greatest attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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