Fear of retaliation is the main reason workplace injuries are under-reported by workers in the United States, but employees have the right to report accidents that occur at work without worrying about any repercussions that might follow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that as many as 69 percents of workplace injuries and illnesses may not be reported.
Why Workers Fail to Report Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
In one study, workers who chose not to report their workplace injuries were asked why they made that choice. Some noted that the injury was too small for concern. For some, the desire not to be labeled as a “complainer” kept them from reporting. Others feared they would lose their jobs or opportunities for future advancement. Some reported they could not afford to take time off to visit the doctor for their injuries.
These are serious problems that need to be addressed, because workplace injuries and illnesses affect the injured person, coworkers, and workplace safety as a whole. When workers do not feel safe reporting their injuries, they may not get the treatment they need to effectively do their jobs after an injury. This puts everyone at risk.
Clear Reporting Guidelines Are Required
To improve the rate at which employees report injuries, OSHA made a ruling that requires employers to have a clear, easy to follow a process in place for reporting. The process must not be too confusing or be set up so that it deters employees from reporting.
Anti-Retaliation Protections Help Protect Workers
OSHA has protections in place that prevent employers from discriminating against workers who report a workplace injury. According to current OSHA guidelines, employers cannot discriminate against, fire, or retaliate against a worker for any reporting. If the employee feels that discrimination has occurred, OSHA allows for the filing of a complaint under the Whistleblower Act. Many employees will work with a workplace injury lawyer to make this complaint.
Retaliation is not tolerated, and employees have the right to file a claim for work-related accidents. By ensuring that employees do this, everyone can keep today’s workplaces safer while ensuring employees get the treatment they need for a full recovery from a workplace accident or work-related illness.