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Workers' doubts lead to longer recovery from job-related accident

There have always been studies conducted on a myriad of topics related to workers and workplace issues that can impact productivity and morale. Recently, an effort was made to analyze the relationship between a worker's comfort level concerning job security and the amount of time off necessary after suffering from a job-related accident. The researchers expressed surprise that the fear of termination seems to translate into a longer recovery time. The study encompassed workers from several states, including North Carolina.

Reportedly, the goal of the research was to determine how to improve healthcare and optimize the outcome for workers injured on-the-job. Additionally, the effort focused on determining the best use of workers' compensation resources and on improving the communications that the injured employee receives while unable to work. The study consisted of phone interviews of workers who had suffered injuries while on the job. According to the results, those who were unsure of their position due to their injury were less likely to return to work quickly.

Moreover, the employees who described being more secure in their company were much more likely to experience a quicker recovery and faster transition back to their duties. The researchers also reviewed the effect of unrelated, but simultaneous, illnesses that may have had an influence on an employee's ability to heal and return to work. The results indicated that those who experienced heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes, were less likely to experience the optimal outcomes after suffering an injury.

The researchers concluded that the prospect of job insecurity -- either with or without attendant medical problems -- could increase an employee's time off for a job-related accident by up to an additional 30 days. The results may be subject to challenge by other researchers at some point, but for now, the emotional environment that a worker may encounter while on-the-job may play a role in how quickly one can recover from an injury. Nevertheless, the workers' compensation program is in place to provide financial assistance to those North Carolina employees who have suffered from an accident or illness while on duty. There are resources in the state to turn to for assistance in filing and processing these important, state-regulated insurance claims.

Source:, "Firing Fear Among New Predictors of Workers' Comp Outcomes: WCRI", , June 19, 2014

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