On many construction worksites, there are incentive programs in place that attempt to prevent injuries. Some of these incentive programs reward supervisors or managers for a good safety record. Other incentive programs penalize supervisors, managers or even workers for injuries. The point of these programs is to encourage a safer workplace so that workers will be less likely to experience a construction injury.
Unfortunately, a recent study shows that the effect of these programs may actually be harmful to workers. The study indicated that workers on worksites with incentive programs tend to be less likely to report a workplace injury. There are many reasons for this, but our Foxboro workers’ compensation attorneys urge all constructions not to make the mistake of letting an injury go unreported.
Construction Workers Failing to Report Injuries
In October 2012, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine published a study that took a look at the impact of incentive-based programs on the reporting of work injuries. In particular, the focus of the study was whether these incentive base programs discouraged workers from reporting an injury when one occurred.
The results of the study were disturbing as they showed that incentive-based programs create a significant disincentive for a worker to report his workplace injuries. This means that workers may be getting hurt on the construction site and may not be following through with reporting their injuries, thus loosing out on the potential to obtain workers’ comp benefits.
The impact of incentive-based safety programs on injury reporting is not a small one either. In fact, according to the study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine:
- 58 percent of survey respondents indicated that there was some type of safety incentive in their workplace. This safety incentive might take the form of a reward for a good safety record or may involve negative consequences when an injury occurs.
- When workers were disciplined as a result of experiencing a work injury, workplace injuries were reported by 50 percent fewer workers than would have reported their injuries absent such discipline policies.
- Approximately 30 percent of survey respondents said that injuries on their worksite were rarely or never reported.
Workers who did not report their injury often failed to make such reports because they were unaware that they had the right to tell their employer and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, workers were aware of their rights but they were discouraged from actually reporting their injuries because of pressure from their co-workers, union leaders, or employers. In other cases, workers feared that they would be disciplined or that their jobs would be affected if they reported a workplace injury.
Regardless of the reason why workers are declining to report their injury, the sad fact is that this has a detrimental impact on the life of the worker. If you are injured at work, workers’ compensation is supposed to provide you with a safety net. Workers’ compensation is supposed to ensure your medical bills are paid, that you are covered for lost wages due to missed work, and that you receive disability benefits if you cannot work. To get these benefits, though, you need to report your injuries.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, take action. A lawyer can help to make sure you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve and can assist you in making sure your employer doesn’t illegally retaliate against you as a result of reporting a work injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed on the job, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation case — 1-888-367-2900.
Workplace Electrocution Risks in Masscahusetts — What You Need to Know, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2012