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Texas sees steady improvement in return to work time

Posted On: Mar. 3, 2020 1:08 PM CST

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The rate of injured workers in Texas who return to work has steadily increased from 78% of injured employees returning to work within six months post-injury in 2007 to 83% 2017, according to a report released Tuesday by the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The report also highlighted that in 2017 91% of injured employees returned to work within one year of their injury, up from 87% in 2007. By three years post-injury for injuries that occurred in 2014 — the most recent data available — 95% of workers had returned to work, according to the report, which was created by the Workers' Compensation Research and Evaluation Group at the Texas Department of Insurance.

Employers with more than 500 employees performed slightly better in 2017 when it came to workers returning to work within six months post-injury (85%), compared with employers with fewer than nine employees (80%), according to the report.

The report also showed that “sustained” return to work figures inched up over a decade. In 2016, 65% of injured employees who went back to work within six months post-injury remained at work for at least three consecutive quarters, compared with about 60% in 2007.

Data from the study showing the prevalence of time-away injuries among older employees, employees with more serious injuries, and employees in industry sectors that rely heavily on manual labor “may signal the need for more focus on vocational rehabilitation and retraining options for these employees and increased claim coordination by insurance carriers to help these employees return to work,” the report states.