Gender, Sex and Work Injury, Illness and Disability

Project number: 
Approval date: 
Monday, May 6, 2013
Principal Investigator: 
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Funding Agency: 
Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR)
Datasets requested: 
Hospital Separations (BC Ministry of Health)
Consolidation file (BC Ministry of Health)
Medical Services Plan (BC Ministry of Health)
Research objective: 

The primary purpose of our research is to investigate gender/sex differences, among a population-based cohort of workers in British Columbia with a workers' compensation claim record over a 25-year period (1987 2011). This study will investigate differences in the rate of injuries and illnesses by gender/sex for workers in the same occupation and industry groups, that speak to differences in labour force distribution, workplace risks/exposures or biases in reporting/compensation; but will also investigate in detail differences by gender/sex for disability outcomes (duration of claim, return to work status, rehabilitation benefits, and permanent disability benefits) and health care utilization (physician visits, rehabilitation services and pharmaceutical use) for workers with the same injury or illness, that speaks to differences in interactions with the health care system and workers compensation experiences for those with a workers compensation claim record. As such, this proposed study is intended to help identify and clarify the potential gender/sex differences in workers compensation experiences and to inform future research, policy and programs for workers to reduce social inequities within the workers compensation system.

Key Research Questions:

1. Do rates of occupational injury and illness differ by gender/sex for workers in the same occupational and industry group? Do differences persist for specific types of injury and illness (back injuries, knee injuries, upper-body musculoskeletal disorders, fractures, asthma, skin conditions, other respiratory illnesses/infections, hearing loss, and lung cancer)?

2. Do disability outcomes (claim duration, vocational rehabilitation, long-term disability/permanent disability status, type of return to work) for a workers compensation claim differ by gender/sex for workers with the same type of injury or illness, adjusted for potential confounding and mediating variables? Are there gender/sex differences within the first year of the claim, or for longer durations post-claim (such as 2 or 3 years post-claim)?

3. Does health care utilization (GP visits, rehabilitation services/therapies, and pharmaceutical use) differ by gender/sex for workers with the same type of injury or illness, adjusted for potential confounding and mediating variables? Are there gender/sex differences during the first year post injury or illness, or for longer durations post injury/ illness (such as 2 or 3 years post injury/illness)?


Presentation of research material (poster/seminar/lecture etc.)

  • Presentation - Are gender differences in disability duration for work-related musculoskeletal injuries explained by health care? EPICOH, 2017
  • Penal Discussion: Considering sex and gender in occupational health policies and programs

Conference abstract/presentation

  • Sex and Age Differences in Disability Duration for Work-related Musculoskeletal Injuries (Symposium #16) OSSD ( Organization for the Study of Sex Differences Annual Scientific) 2017
  • Gender differences in detailed return-to-work trajectories following a workers’ compensation claim for musculoskeletal injury. Abstract for the 2016 CARWH conference
    titled: ‘CARWH 2016: Advancing Research to Improve Work and
    Health’, Toronto October 16-18, 2016
  • M Koehoorn, C McLeod, S Hogg-Johnson, K Lippel, J Fan, L Tamburic.  Gender/sex and work disability:   Investigating differences in duration by dependents at home.  Conference abstract. October 2014.

Page last revised: July 14, 2020