Mortality Consequences of Non-Fatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses This study will use linked workers'compensation, Social Security Administration, and National Death Index data to determine the impact of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses on all-cause mortality. We will follow all workers with compensated lost-time workplace injuries and illness with dates of injury in 1994-2000 and a comparison group of uninjured workers in the same firms through 2012, providing up to 19 years of mortality follow-up. We will use separate Cox proportional hazards regressions for males and females for both injured and comparison workers to estimate the all-cause hazard of mortality after the date of injury. To account for potential bias from unobserved confounders, we will use information on compensated workplace injuries and confounders from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and a recently-developed statistical method to adjust our estimates for missing confounders. This research can add a new dimension to our understanding of the burden of non-fatal occupational injuries: their impact on mortality. In the past 10-15 years, researchers have found that many injured workers suffer long-term declines in earnings in addition to chronic health impacts. We hypothesize that these impacts lead to increased mortality risk in the decades following injury. Documenting an increase in mortality would add new evidence about the substantial burden of occupational injuries and illnesses in the U.S., thus supporting the goal of prevention. This could lead to a novel measure of the impact of non-fatal injuries - injury-related excess mortality.
To date, no researchers have attempted to measure the long-term mortality impact of acute injuries and illnesses - the goal of the proposed research. If this research finds that these conditions affect mortality, this would argue for additional prevention resources in this area. This research may also set the stage for future work identifying which acute injuries and illnesses, occupations, and industries are the most important contributors to mortality.