An unreported work accident is a big deal in North Carolina.
If you’re hurt on the job, and you fail to report the injury, your opportunity for a workers’ compensation claim may be diminished or denied, meaning you could lose out on valuable medical help or compensation for lost work time.
Reporting work injuries may help employers as well, especially if the incident is reported in a timely manner. A report of an injury can allow an employer to investigate the cause of the accident and correct safety problems before being cited for an OSHA violation and/or before a coworker is hurt more seriously or even killed.
Alerting an employer to an injury can also allow a worker to seek treatment before the injury becomes worse, leading to more missed work-time, bigger medical bills and otherwise higher workers’ compensation costs.
Although it can benefit everyone for a worker to let an employer know if something is wrong, any workers’ comp lawyer in North Carolina knows that many injuries go unreported. New studies have shed more light on why many employees aren’t speaking up and what employers can do about it.
Employees Not Reporting Work Injuries
Safety and Health Magazine summarized two recent studies explaining why workers are failing to report safety violations or on-the-job injuries.
In one study, young workers said they weren’t reporting injuries or safety risks on the job because they felt powerless to affect change. They did not believe their report would be considered credible because of their age and lack of experience. Many of these young workers indicated they’d adopt a wait-and-see approach and hope that other workers had identified the same safety hazards so everyone could speak out together.
In the other study, 135 workers were surveyed by the Center for Construction Research and Technology. 27% of the surveyed workers indicated they’d failed to report an injury that happened at work. The most common reason the injury wasn’t reported was because they considered the injury too small or minor to alert their employer. A full 72% of those who didn’t report the injury gave this “too-small” excuse.
While work injuries may start out small, in our experience they often have the potential to become more serious, chronic conditions if left untreated. When treatment is finally sought out, it may be denied under workers’ compensation because the initial injuries weren’t reported.
Workers also indicated that they did not report injuries on the job at construction sites because they accepted that pain was part of working in the field; because they were worried they’d miss work time and pay if they had to see a doctor; because they feared that safety incentives would be lost; or because they feared they would not be hired again in the future if they were seen as complainers.
Workers’ compensation can cover time missed from work and a NC workers compensation lawyer may be able to help you protect your job. Be safe – report every injury.
What employers can do to encourage workers to report injuries:
With a myriad of reasons why workers don’t report injuries, employers may be unclear on the steps they should take to encourage employees to alert them if someone gets hurt or if a safety violation is identified.
However, a study from the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics provides some answers.
The study shows that having an approachable supervisor who encourages regular open communication, even if not related to safety, is the key to getting employees to report accidents and injuries. Employers, therefore, should emphasize to all in supervisory positions how important it is to help workers come forward to make the workplace safer for everyone.
NC Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you’ve been hurt at work, workers’ compensation benefits can help you pay for your medical bills and time out of work. Don’t let your injury go unreported.
A workers comp lawyer in North Carolina may be able to help if you are injured on the job. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.