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Workers' Compensation (Paid Wage Loss Claims)

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Department of Health and Human Services

Workers' Compensation (Paid Wage Loss Claims)

The law requires a safe and healthy workplace.1 But, workplace illnesses and injuries still occur daily. Almost all workplace illnesses and injuries can be prevented.2 In Michigan on average, there are about 20,000 individuals each year who have a new workers’ compensation claim for a work-related illness or injury to cover lost work time and associated medical costs. There were over 47,000 people in 2021 receiving lost wage benefits from an illness or injury that happened in or before 2021. $792 million were paid in Michigan during 2021.3

Work-related illness and injury data for Michigan workers who received paid wage loss workers’ compensation benefits or specific loss benefits are available on the MiTracking data portal.

  • A work-related illness is any illness where work caused the illness or made an existing illness worse.5 Work-related illnesses are from exposure to something at the workplace. Work-related illnesses often develop after a longer period of exposure. One-time exposures can also cause work-related illness.

    Exposure Examples

    • Cold
    • Dust
    • Fumes
    • Gas
    • Heat
    • Infectious agents (bacteria, viruses like COVID-19, fungi, and parasites)
    • Stress 
  • A work-related injury is an injury that happens on the job.4 It can be a one-time event or happen over time. Injuries can happen in all types of workplaces.

  • The Workers' Disability Compensation Act covers most Michigan employers.1 Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance program, meaning the worker is not at-fault for an injury. A worker must be off for more than 7 days in a row (can include weekends) to qualify for paid wage loss benefits. Another category of claims is for specific loss and does not need to have more than 7 days off work to be awarded workers' compensation; these include an amputation involving bone loss, loss of vision, total loss of hearing, or death. Medical or rehabilitation benefits do not have a requirement for days off.

    Workers' compensation can include:

    • Medical benefits.
    • Rehabilitation benefits.
    • Specific loss benefits (amputation involving bone loss, loss of vision, total loss of hearing, or death).
    • Wage replacement.

    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 are:

    • Federal employees.
    • Private employers with at least one worker employed for less than 35 hours per week, and who works less than 13 weeks total in a year.
    • Private employers with less than three workers at any one time.
    • Railroad employees.
    • Seamen on navigable waters.
    • Self-employed.
    • Workers who load and unload water vessels.

    For more information, visit Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity - Workers' Disability Compensation Agency.

  • The Workers' Disability Compensation Agency administers the Michigan's Workers' Disability Compensation Act.6 This Agency makes sure that workers receive payment for lost work time and medical care costs.

    Michigan Claims

    Most Michigan claims are of the following type and/or location:

    Most common injuries are:

    • Sprains and strains.
    • Crushes.
    • Broken bones.

    Where injuries most often happen are:

    • Factories.
    • Hospitals
    • Schools.
    • Stores.

    For more information, visit Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity - Workers' Disability Compensation Agency.

  • All workers are at risk of having an illness or injury from exposure on the job.5

    Most workers at risk are:

    • New employees.
    • Senior, or long-term workers.
    • Workers in certain types of industry.
    • Young employees.
  • To prevent work-related illnesses and injuries, companies can7:

    • Develop health and safety plans. Then, have regular employee trainings.
    • Have good engineering controls.
    • Have safe work practices.
    • Use state and national resources to keep workers safe.

    The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is the group that inspects a company to enforce workplace safety regulations.

    For more information, visit Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity - Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).

  • MiTracking Workers’ Compensation Indicator

    • Paid Wage Loss Claims
      • Statewide data may be grouped by:
        • Employer Size (small, medium, large – by number of employees).
        • Industry Type (3-digit NAICS [North American Industry Classification System] code).
        • Injury Type.
        • Year of injury (all years combined).
      • County data may be grouped by:
        • Age Group.
        • County of Employer.
        • Employer Size.
        • Gender.
        • Industry Type (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sector).
        • Injury Type.
        • Year of injury.

    MiTracking Illness and Injury Data Can Tell Us

    • The number and rate of work-related amputations, abrasions and cuts, crushes and contusions, fractures and dislocations, sprains and strains, burns, concussions, and other diseases that are covered by wage replacement.
    • How often wage loss claims are paid in various industries, locations, and groups of workers in Michigan.

    MiTracking Illness and Injury Data Cannot Tell Us

    • The total burden of work-related illnesses and injuries in a population.
    • The cause or conditions that led to the work-related illness or injury.
    • The long-lasting effects on retirees.
    • 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.
    • Workers who only received medical or rehabilitation benefits.
    • Workers off work for less than eight days.
    • Workers with illnesses and injuries who are assigned a different job at work while they are recovering from their illness or injury.

    Find Out More

    In 2016, the Michigan State University (MSU) Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) received funding from the NIOSH to conduct a study of the paid wage and specific loss workers' compensation claims in Michigan.

    For more data information, visit:

    • About These Data (found on the data portal after a query search).
    • Metadata (Technical information about the content, quality, and context of the data).
  • Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

    MI Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA)

    MI Workers' Disability Compensation Agency

    Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

    Thirteen Indicators of the Health of Michigan's Workforce (Report)

    Work-Related Health Disparities in Michigan, 2011 (Report)

    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Division (MSU OEM)

    Annual Reports: Occupational Illness and Injury in Michigan


    Work Related Injuries and Illnesses

    United States Bureau of Labor Statistics


    United States Department of Labor

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

    Contact Information

    Contact the MSU OEM at for more information.

      1. Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. MIOSHA Standards. Accessed September 23, 2022.
      2. Baker EL. Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR): the concept. Am J Public Health. 1989;79 Suppl:18-20. doi:10.2105/ajph.79.suppl.18
      3. Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency: 2021 annual report. Accessed September 23, 2022.
      4. NIOSH. Traumatic occupational injury. Accessed September 23, 2022.
      5. NIOSH. A-Z index for NIOSH. Accessed September 23, 2022.
      6. Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Resources and reports. Accessed September 23, 2022.
      7. OSHA. Safe + sound. Accessed September 23, 2022.