Predicting Future Claims

Employers at risk for future workers’ compensation claims

In practice, prevention and regulatory resources for occupational safety and health are focused on the industries that are the most hazardous. However, there is a large body of research indicating that workers’ compensation claim rates also vary among firms within the same industry. Additionally, there is evidence of workplace factors beyond the hazardous nature of the task that may put an worker at risk for injury. We are working to identify the characteristics of firms that signal they are at risk for more workers’ compensation claims than their peers in the near future. We do this using administrative data to provide an efficient and inexpensive prevention approach.


Preliminary study in construction

Our primary aim was to determine if administrative data could be used to characterize firm-level characteristics that identify firms at risk for more future time-loss claims than their peers. To answer this question, we conducted a preliminary study focusing on a high-hazard, high claim industry—construction.

Washington Labor and Industries workers’ compensation data were linked with Washington Employment Security Department unemployment insurance data for this study. We focused on Washington construction firms having an average of 10-50 full time equivalent (FTE) employees. Regression modeling was used to find firm characteristics significantly associated with future time-loss claim rate. Firms with a recent history of time-loss claims, higher base premium rate, lower average wage rate, and recent growth in FTE were predicted to have a statistically significant higher future claim rate than their peers. These findings have been detailed in a peer-review journal article, see “publications”.

Expanded study

We will expand this work to determine if this approach can be used to identify high-risk firms in industries other than construction.

The aim of this work is to prevent future workers' compensation claims. SHARP, along with other departments at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, aim to prioritize and direct resources to firms most at risk for on-the-job injury and disease.


Journal Articles

Marcum JL, Foley M, Adams D, and Bonauto D (2018). Characteristics of construction firms at risk for future workers’ compensation claims using administrative data systems, Washington State. Journal of Safety Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2018.02.005. | Research Findings.