2/28/2014 - One in 10 Americans hesitant to report job related injuries
While the vast majority of Americans who are injured at work report their being hurt to the proper authorities within their employer, a fairly substantial portion opts not to do so - mainly out of fear of reprisal, recently released polling data confirms.
Approximately 10% of American adults, according to a survey performed by legal information website FindLaw.com, stated that they have incurred an injury while laboring but did not tell their superiors about it because they feared what might happen as a result. Potential consequences that they believed could take place included being fired, being teased or harassed by their fellow co-workers, as well as not receiving a promotion.
Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com, indicated that this is a trend that many businessowners need to be concerned about.
"Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because the employee reports an injury or illness, and many states have laws that specifically prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who file for or receive workers' compensation benefits," said Rahlfs.
Additionally, she advised entrepreneurs that if they have any type of incentive system wherein employees are given financial or other types of rewards for not reporting an injury while on the job, they could be penalized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Labor Department.
"If a worker is injured on the job, they should immediately notify a supervisor, and if appropriate, a union safety representative," said Rahlfs.
Most of the accidents that went unreported were slips and falls, the FindLaw.com survey revealed. OSHA statistics, as well as data from the National Safety Council, has shown that workers' compensation insurance claims have largely been filed for these same types of injuries that occur in work-related environments.