For too many workers, the effects of injuries do not end when their physical harm is healed and they get back to their jobs. What begins as a work injury too often ends up leading to deep and long-term issues, including depression and early death.

Executive Summary

Mental health, work design and off-the-job conditions all affect the recovery rates of workers injured on the job, according to experts who spoke at the Workers Compensation Research Institute's annual conference.

This is not news to Dr. Les Boden, professor of Environmental Medicine at Boston University’s School of Public Health. Much of Boden’s research is focused on the economic and human consequences of injuries and illnesses.

“I’ve been looking at the long-term effects of workplace injuries for a number of years, and during that time, as an economist, I found out that many workers have effects on their earnings that last long past the time that they’re no longer on workers compensation,” he said, sharing his experience and research at the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s annual conference in Boston in early March. “I’ve also discovered that lots of workers who’ve had workplace injuries end up on Social Security and disability insurance—many more than the Social Security Administration thinks are there.”

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