Objectives: Fifty-seven thousand occupational injuries occur in Taiwan each year. Previous studies have found that a certain proportion of workers developed psychiatric symptoms after the injury and those symptoms were an important obstacle to their return to work. The aim of this study was to investigate workers' need to return to work 12 months after an occupational injury. Methods: The study population was composed of workers who were injured at work, hospitalized for 3 or more days, and later received Inpatient Hospitalization Benefits as part of Occupational Accident Medical Benefits from Labor Insurance between February 1 and August 31,2009. The subjects were recruited consecutively 12 months after injury and assessed by a selfreported questionnaire which included demographic data, severity of injury, the process of workers compensation, and their return to work. Results: A total of 1,233 injured workers completed the self-reported questionnaire for a response rate of 28.0%. Among those who completed the questionnaire, 78.6% (n=969) returned to work while the other 21.4% (n=264) did not. Compared to subjects who returned to work, those who were unable to do so were older, received less education, had a higher proportion of leaving their original employer, had lower scores for the workers compensation process, and consider workers compensation approval difficult to obtain. Among injured workers, only 18.1% (n= 175) had received an assessment for return to work. Compared to those who did not receive such an assessment, injured workers who did had longer sick leaves and returned to work later (14.3 ± 13.1 vs. 10.7 ± 12.0 weeks). In general, the assessment and decision to return to work were made mostly by employers (62.3%, n=109). Moreover, workers who received an assessment had a higher risk of relapse after returning to work compared to those who did not (39.4% vs. 31.2%, p=0.03). Conclusions: The integration and re-orientation of the existing resources for severely occupationally injured workers and strengthening single unit service for them are warranted if the government is to succeed in providing a reasonable health care system for these workers. (Taiwan J Public Health. 2013;32(6):576-585).
- Occupational injury
- Return to work
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health