The longer an injured worker is off work the less likely they are to return to work and modified work is associated with shorter recovery durations. However, low rates of modified work have been found in Canadian compensation jurisdictions. This study investigated the determinants of modified work among workers with musculoskeletal injury compensation claims in British Columbia.Methods
Three cohorts of injured workers were identified from compensation claims for back strain, limb fractures and connective tissue injuries. The effect of age, sex, occupation, wage quintile and prior claim on at least one modified day (yes/no) within the first four weeks of claim was analysed using Poisson regression.Results
In multivariable models, female gender was associated with an increased likelihood of modified work (back strains: IRR 1.15 [95%CI 1.06, 1.25]; limb fractures: 1.22 [0.91, 1.64]; connective tissue injuries: 1.14 [0.85, 1.52]), while older age (e.g. 55 to 65 years) was associated with a decreased likelihood (back strains: IRR 0.69 [95%CI 0.63, 0.76]; limb fractures; connective tissue injuries: 0.59 [0.43, 0.81). Higher income was associated with an increased likelihood of modified work for limb fractures (highest quintile: IRR 1.84 [1.27, 2.67]). The effect of occupation was variable on modified work by injury type.Discussion
Unmeasured injury severity may have resulted in residual confounding of disability duration by gender and age. The offer of modified work may be dependent on occupation and the flexibility of higher paying occupations. The overall low rate of modified work for musculoskeletal injuries (<30%) warrants further investigation.