Fear of Repercussions Deters Construction Workers from Reporting Injuries
The construction sector is one of the deadliest workplaces, with one of the highest injury and fatality rates in the country. In fact, injury rates may be higher than statistics indicate, because many accidents go unreported. Researchers recently tried to find out why there is so much underreporting of construction injuries. Their findings are distressing.
The study, conducted by the AFL-CIO-affiliated Center for Construction Research and Training, finds that most underreporting is because workers fear negative consequences from reporting injuries. Those negative consequences included loss of employment.
The researchers surveyed about 135 construction workers, and 77% admitted that they had failed to report an injury in the workplace. In many cases, the workers thought their injuries were too small to report, while in other cases, the workers thought that injuries were part of the job. Some workers feared that they would be fired if they reported their injuries and would not be hired again in the industry. Others thought that they would lose out on an incentive prize for keeping injury rates low or did not want to take time off for medical care.
When injuries are underreported, it is hard for safety agencies to monitor the rate of injuries. Consequently, in the absence of correct data, it becomes difficult and challenging to reduce construction-related injuries. Employers must foster a work environment that encourages workers to report injuries in a timely and accurate manner.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned. Contact us today so we can offer advice about your legal options.