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Repeat WCB Claims: Who is At Risk?

A study completed in 2010 by Canadian Public Health Association discovered that an employee in Alberta with one Workers Compensation Board (WCB) claim often had an additional claim after several months.

Of the 1.1 million total claims looked at, an alarming 49.2% had at least one additional claim. Second claims were more likely to occur in younger males, 58.5% ages 25-34 and 54.1% for ages 34-44, that worked in industries involving manual work. The average duration between claims is roughly 24 months. The chance for a second claim varied with occupation, the highest rates occurring in:

  1. Fishing/Trapping (75%)
  2. Machining trades (67.5%)
  3. Mining (55.4%)
  4. Construction (53.5%)

Below is the breakdown of the Types of injuries and the likelihood of them being repeat claims:

Relation of Injury Type to Second WCB Claim


Time to Second Claim

Second Claim





Fracture Dislocation



Contact w/objects or equipment



Bodily Reaction/exertion







Another study completed by University of Alberta in 2012 examined the correlation between mental ill-health and second claims for a work related injury.  The study concluded that workers with a recent history of mental illness at the time of making a first WCB claim for a work injury are at greater risk of a second injury, leading to a new claim.

How does this impact an employer’s WCB rating?

Total Costs from repeat claims are 149.1% higher than first claims.

How to stop your chances of a repeat WCB claim?

Fitness-to-work testing involves a series of medical and musculoskeletal assessments and physical testing stations designed to compare a candidate’s abilities with the physical demands of the job they are applying for. Each employer receives a recommendation to hire through an accurate picture of the candidate’s medical and physical abilities. SureHire has helped multiple organizations improve workplace safety, qualify for WCB cost relief and reduce lost-time incidents by putting the right person in the right job. If the characteristics of the job, initial injury or worker were predictive of an early second claim, interventions at the time of hiring might be effective in reducing the burden of work related injuries.