Accepted: 12 January 2018
Early labor force exit subsequent to permanently impairing
occupational injury or illness among workers 50-64 years
Kenneth A. Scott MPH, PhD
Qing Liao MSc
Gwenith G. Fisher PhD
Lorann Stallones MPH, PhD
Carolyn DiGuiseppi MD, MPH, PhD
Emile Tompa PhD
Denver Public Health, Denver Health and
Hospital Authority, Denver, Colorado
Institute for Work and Health, Toronto,
Department of Psychology, Colorado State
University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Department of Epidemiology, Colorado
School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado
Kenneth Scott, MPH, PhD, Denver Public
Health, Denver Health and Hospital Authority,
605 Bannock Street, MC 2600, Denver, CO
Canadian Institutes for Health Research,
Grant number: FRN 126089.
Background: Severity of workplace injury tends to increase with age. Whether older
workers who experience a workplace injury or illness exit the labor force sooner than
comparable peers is not established.
Methods: A case-cohort study design and complementary log-log model were used to
identify factors associated with average time to early substantial labor force exit among
workers’ compensation claimants 50-64 years of age with permanent impairment from
an occupational injury or illness. Analysis was based on Ontario's workers’
compensation claimant data from 1998 to 2006 linked with Canadian tax files.
Results: Workers with permanent impairment left the labor force earlier, on average,
than peers without claims. Early retirement was associated with older age in the injury/
illness year, greater impairment, lower pre-claim income, physically demanding jobs,
and soft-tissue injuries.
Conclusions: Policies aiming to extend older adults’ working lives should account for
the potentially disparate impacts on older workers of occupational injury and illness.
accidents, aging, employment, occupational, occupational injuries, retirement
The relationship between health and labor force participation is of
particular relevance to older workers and their employers because
physical health generally deteriorates with age. Older workers
represent an increasing share of the workforce,
and are likely to
be affected by one or more medical conditions.
There is evidence that
relatively sudden declines in health status may play an especially
important role in early labor force exit.
Injuries, which occur suddenly
and can result in significant functional impairment, could be an
important contributor to early retirement among older workers.
Identifying factors that influence whether older workers
the potential to inform return-to-work practices. The nature of
the claim, for example, may influence the likelihood a worker is
able to find employment post-claim. Furthermore, the concept of
retirement is changing, in parallel with changes in the nature of
employment more generally.
Therefore, in addition to individual
level factors, such as the nature of the health event, societal level
factors, such as the evolving labor market, could influence older
methods to measure how individuals engage in paid work after
Institution at which the work was performed: Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora,
CO and Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Am J Ind Med. 2018;61:317–325. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/ajim © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.