HomeNewsPress ReleaseCWCI Score Card Looks at Durable Goods Manufacturing Job Injury Claims in California


Bob Young

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CWCI Score Card Looks at Durable Goods Manufacturing Job Injury Claims in California

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has issued the 5th edition of its “Industry Scorecard” featuring detailed data on accident year (AY)2000-2008 claims experience of durable goods manufacturing workers in California. The Score Card reflects data from 208,159 work injury claims filed by employees who produce hard goods such as automobiles, appliances, furniture and tools, which are not consumed quickly and which usually last for several years. Paid losses on these claims totaled more than $2.4 billion. The Scorecard shows durable goods manufacturing workers accounted for just over 9% of all California job injury claims during the 8-year span of the study, and a similar proportion of paid losses, though those proportions have fallen steadily, with the most recent data showing durable goods manufacturing claims down to just 6.9% of 2008 California job injury claims and 6.1% of insured loss payments.

The three most common injury categories for these workers are minor wounds and injuries (which account for about 23% of the cases, but tend to be relatively simple claims, accounting for less than 3% of the payments); medical back problems without spinal cord involvement (typically back sprains and strains, which represent 17% of the claims but, because they often linger and result in delayed return to work, account for 29% of paid losses in the sector); followed by other injuries, poisonings and toxic effects (11.5% of the claims, 13.1% of the losses). Given the mix of injuries, med-only cases represent a relatively high percentage of durable goods manufacturing claims, but a smaller share of the claims are temporary disability cases, while the proportion of durable goods manufacturing claims resulting in permanent disability, which is where the bulk of the loss dollars go, is about the same as for all industries. Average benefit payments for durable goods manufacturing claims dropped briefly following the 2004 workers’ compensation reforms, but results for AY 2006 and AY 2007 show average amounts paid at 12 and 24 months have moved up sharply. For example, average first-year payments on a lost-time claim in this sector hit a recent low of $10,407 ($5,930 medical + $4,477 indemnity) in AY 2005, but by AY 2007 they had jumped 26% to $13,112 ($7,477 medical + $5,635 indemnity).

The Score Card also features a profile of durable goods manufacturing claimants, claim distributions based on claimant job classification and county of residence, nature and cause of injury, primary diagnosis, and employer premium. Claim closure rates at 12, 24 and 36 months post injury also are broken out by accident year for all claims and for lost-time claims. Pre- and post-reform claim and payment distributions by type of claim (med-only, temporary disability, permanent disability, and death) are noted, as are pre- and post-reform attorney involvement rates for permanent disability claims, with comparative distributions for all California work injury claims.

CWCI’s Industry Score Card Series and summary Bulletins are available to Institute members and research subscribers who log on to CWCI’s web site, www.cwci.org. Anyone wishing to subscribe may do so by visiting CWCI’s online Store. The next Score Card in the series will examine nondurable goods manufacturing claims.