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College of Human Medicine

Workers' Compensation: Work-Related Illnesses and Injuries (Paid Wage Loss Claims)

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is the system used to provide wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness. A work-related injury is any injury that happens on the job. It can be the result of a specific event or happen over time. An example of an injury from a specific event is when an individual falls off a ladder and breaks a bone. An example of an injury that occurs over time is a sprain that developed because of the repetitive nature of the job.

A work-related illness is any illness where work caused, significantly contributed to the cause, or aggravated the illness. Work-related illnesses are the result of exposure to something at the workplace. Work-related illnesses often develop after a longer period of time but can also happen from a one-time exposure.

Who is covered?

The Workers' Disability Compensation Act covers most Michigan employers. Employers must buy an insurance policy from a private insurance company or be self-insured. This requirement makes sure there is payment for claims and costs.

Groups not covered:

  • Federal employees
  • Railroad employees
  • Seamen on navigable waters
  • Workers who load and unload water vessels
  • Private employers with less than three workers or who have one worker with less than 35 hours per week for less than 13 weeks
  • Self-employed

Only wage replacement claims of covered workers are computerized so the data doesn’t include:

  • Workers off work for less than seven days
  • Workers who only received medical or rehabilitation benefits
  • Workers with injuries or illnesses who are assigned a different job at work while they are
  • Workers not covered by the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act
  • Workers, who although qualified, do not file a wage loss claim or a claim for a specific loss
  • Workers denied wage loss or specific loss claims recovering from their injury or illness

Workers' Compensation claim data are known not to capture the total burden of work-related injuries and illnesses in a population, particularly long-latency illnesses such as cancer or pneumoconiosis that occur in retirees. The data base does not include the conditions that led to the work-related injury or illness.

The interactive web site MDHHS - Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses can be used to examine both the number of paid claims and the rate of paid claims by:

  • Small, medium and large employers
  • Type of injury
  • Year (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and combined)
  • Age groups
  • Gender
  • Industry type
  • County


MSU Workers' Compensation Data Tracking Project

Recreate the data tracking project described in Preparing Work-Related Injuries and Illness Data for MiTracking using the tools listed below: