Workers need to report safety violations and injuries that occur on the job so the injured employee can obtain benefits and so the employer is alerted to and can correct hazardous conditions. However, studies indicate that many workers fail to report work injuries despite efforts to encourage reporting. There are myriad of reasons why workers decline to report injuries, but employers can take simple steps to increase reporting and make workplaces safer.
Injured workers concerned about reporting an injury can consult with a workers compensation lawyer in Santa Ana for assistance. California law protects workers from retaliation for reporting workplace injuries and requires workers’ compensation insurance to cover a broad range of work-related injuries and impairments.
Many Reasons for Failure to Report Work Injuries
Workers of all ages and in all fields have their own individual reasons for failing to report workplace injuries. As Safety and Health Magazine explains:
- A Journal of Safety Research study indicated young workers failed to report injuries because they felt a sense of powerlessness. Many teen workers instead adopted a wait-and-see approach to reporting safety violations and would speak up only if a consensus was reached among workers that the hazard presented a danger. Young workers not only believed a report from a single worker would not lead to change, but also that their age and inexperience resulted in less credibility.
- The Center for Construction Research and Technology revealed that 27 percent of 135 construction workers surveyed said they had failed to report an on-the-job injury. Of these workers, 72 percent didn’t report the injury because it was “too small” to report. Other reasons for failure to report included an acceptance of pain as part of the job; a fear of being labeled as a complainer and losing current or future work; concerns about taking time off to see a doctor; or a desire to avoid losing safety incentives for accident-free workplaces.
A failure to report an injury for any reason can exacerbate the damage done to the body if a worker tries to continue working without receiving proper treatment and without healing from the accident. Employers also suffer if a worker fails to report an injury as productivity may be decreased, and/or the employee’s aggravated injuries could result in a longer absence from work and larger workers’ compensation payments.
Solving the Problem and Encouraging Reporting
Because it is in everyone’s best interests for all workplace injuries to be reported, employers should actively take steps to encourage their workers to provide information on both safety violations and on-the-job injuries. Unfortunately, employers too often instead try to minimize exposure to workers’ compensation claims. A study published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics emphasized the importance of creating a climate of open-communication. Supervisors who speak with subordinates on a daily basis will develop a more personal relationship with employees, making workers more likely to report problems to supervisors in a timely manner.
If employees see supervisors as someone not to fear but instead as a person who they can bring problems to, the workplace will be safer for everyone.
If you were injured and need help from a workers’ compensation lawyer in Santa Ana, contact California Law Associates. Call 714-542-3377 today for your free case evaluation.