RTC burden is commonly measured using fatality or hospitalisation statistics. However, non-fatal and less severe injuries contribute substantial economic and human costs, including work absence. In Victoria, Australia, two major compensation systems provide income support to employed people injured in RTCs; workers’ compensation (if RTC occurred during work) and an RTC-specific compensation system. This study aimed to describe the number and rate of episodes of work absence due to compensable RTC and determine factors associated with work-related RTC resulting in work absence.
Administrative data for working-age people (15–65 years) with accepted compensation claims between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2013 were extracted from Victoria’s Compensation Research Database and analysed. Injured people receiving at least one day of income support were retained. Rate calculations used Victoria’s labour force as the denominator and negative binomial regression determined any time-based trend changes. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine odds of the RTC being work-related.
There were 40 677 claims made by workers with an RTC injury that consequently missed work, averaging 4068 claims per year at a rate of 12.9 per 100 000 working population. Work-related cases contributed 17.4% (N=7061). Males, older adults and RTCs involving heavy vehicles, buses, trains and trams had higher odds of a work-related RTC resulting in work absence. More severe injuries tended not to be work-related.
Work absence due to RTC injury constitutes a substantial burden, and this measure could provide a valuable addition to conventional RTC statistics.