Presentation T O12

T O12 (Oral Presentation):
Aging Workers with Work-related Musculoskeletal Injuries

Presented by: Fahad Saad Algarni

Authors

Algarni Fahad S1,2, Gross DP1, Senthilselvan A1, Battié MC1

  1. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  2. King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Abstract

Background

Work-related injuries present a serious challenge for the aging workforce. Older workers often take longer to recover and experience more missed workdays after work-related injuries, but it is unclear why or how best to intervene. Knowing the characteristics of older injured workers and how they differ from their younger counterparts may help inform development of interventions to reduce long-term work disability. Objective: To describe workers demographic, employment, injury and clinical characteristics and compare across three age groups: working age adults (25-54 years), adults nearing retirement age (55-64 years), and adults past typical retirement age (≥65 years).

Methods

This study is a descriptive cross-sectional study. We used a dataset of workers’ compensation claimants from Alberta that included information on claimants with sub-acute and chronic work-related musculoskeletal injuries. The database contained information on demographic, employment, injury and clinical characteristics. The descriptive statistics were computed and compared between the three age groups using appropriate statistical tests (e.g., ANOVA, Chi-square). The level of significance was set at α=0.05.

Results

Workers over typical retirement age (≥ 65 years), as compared to those 25-54 and 55-64 years, had lower education levels (e.g. a partial high school diploma (15.6% vs. 10.2% and 11.9%, p<0.001). They were more likely to work in trades, transport and related occupations (50.0% vs. 46.1% and 43.6%, p<0.001), to not have offers of modified work (57.5% vs. 38.9 and 41.8%, p<0.001), to experience fractures (18.3% vs. 14.2% and 10.8%, p<0.001), and to have no further rehabilitation recommended after assessment (28.5%, vs. 18.4% and 20.5%, p=0.005).

Conclusions

Injured workers past typical retirement age were more likely to have lower education levels, work in trades and associated occupations, and have less availability of modified work options. Older workers were much less likely to be offered rehabilitation despite having more severe injuries, such as fractures, despite appearing similar on the clinical variables examined. Injured workers who are past typical retirement age appear to be a disadvantaged group with significant challenges from a vocational rehabilitation perspective.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
10:45 - 12:15 Morning Concurrent Sessions (T O1 - T O12 and Seminar 4)
Session: Work disability in ageing workers
Room A