Existing national data may underreport the full burden of occupational injuries and illnesses. This study sought to provide more complete reporting and to assess disability that persisted following return to work. Workers (n = 205) with a musculoskeletal injury resulting in 5 or more days of lost time or restricted duty were recruited from three employers. Data on work status and functional limitations were derivedfrom multiple sources including administrative records, medical records, and patient interviews at baseline and 6 months. Results indicate that many workers reported continuing difficulties functioning at work following return to full duty. Measures of health-related quality of life improved over 6 months, but bodily pain and physical functioning scores remained lower than expected based on national averages. Sixteen percent of workers were reinjured within a year following initial injury. Following return to work, many workers experienced reinjury or reported persistent limitations in function 6 months following injury. Based on study findings the conclusion is drawn that OSHA logs may provide accurate measures of initial episodes of time loss from work but may underrepresent the full magnitude of lost time following work injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Disability
  • Functional status
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Occupational injuries
  • Return to work


Dive into the research topics of 'Is disability underreported following work injury?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this