Texas employees are returning back to work following work related injuries according to a recent report by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Beginning in 2003 through 2007, each year a greater percentage of injured workers are returning back to work sooner. For example in 2007, 76% of employees were back at work for the first time within six months of the injury compared to 72% in 2003. Within one year of the injury, 87% of workers were back at work, a six percent improvement from 2003.
Importantly, more employees are returning back to work with their pre-injury employers sooner at six months, one year, one and a half years in 2007 then compared to 2003. Return to work is increasing for almost every type of injury (hand/wrist and nerve compression injuries are an exception).
As expected, large employers have better return to work results than small employers. In 2007, 93% of injured workers with employers over 500 employees returned back to work. In contrast, only 78% of injured workers working for smaller employers (one to four employees) returned back to work. As such, there is a direct correlation with return to work rates with size of the employer.
Initial return back to work is important but employees who stay at work following an injury is a better measure. As of now,
Texas injured employees are remaining back at work for three consecutive quarters after they return back to work. In 2007, 71% of employees were working three consecutive months after the injury compared with only 64% in 2003. One year post injury, 77% of injured workers were employed for three consecutive quarters as compared to 71% in 2003.
Again, there is a direct correlation between return back to work and the size of the employer although the change from 2003 to 2007 is less drastic. In 2007, 54% of employees were working three consecutive quarters one year post injury if the employer had one to four employees. By contrast, 84% of injured employees working for an employer with 500 or more employees returned back to work for three consecutive quarters one year post injury.
In 2003, the median days off work for injured employees who returned back to work at some point in time was 31 days. The median days dropped to 22 in 2007 (although there is no improvement from 2006). Interestingly, the median days off work for injured employees who returned back to work at some point in time for a hand/wrist nerve compression injury (31 days) was more than someone with low back nerve compression (26 days).