Underreporting of work injuries leads to lack of compensation

Given the nature of the construction industry, workplace injuries are sometimes unavoidable. Like many other jobs, there is typically some type of protocol to properly report injuries sustained on the job. Unfortunately, however, there are some hurdles in the way that may prevent construction workers from reporting their sustained injuries. Even when workers understand that they have a right to report injuries, there are pressures in the workplace that discourage them from doing so.

Underreporting of injuries is big issue for the construction industry

The Center for Construction Research and Training recently sponsored a study investigating the effects of programs within the industry that either punishes workers for reporting injuries or that reward workers for improving safety records. The survey consisted of 1,020 carpenter apprentices in three different union training programs. The purpose of the study was to document the amount of exposure to efforts in the industry that hinder injury reporting.

According to the survey, approximately 58 percent of carpenters reported some type of incentive for being safe or consequence for being injured on the job. The survey found that work-related injuries were 50 percent less likely to be reported when workers were disciplined for reporting such. Approximately one-third of the carpenters said injuries were "almost never or rarely reported."

The encouragement of reporting workplace injuries improves safety

Unfortunately, given the negative effects of reporting, workers often don't feel safe reporting their injuries.

A report by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that an open and healthy culture improved responses to staff surveys regarding safety.

Fortunately, the unions are making efforts to change this epidemic of underreporting. A researcher from Duke University Medical Center, who also helped conduct the study sponsored by the Center for Construction Research and Training, has credited the unions for creating an environment that promotes the reporting of injuries by apprentice carpenters.

Report work-related injuries as soon as possible

Unfortunately, given the risk associated within the construction industry, occurrences of injury are almost unavoidable. Fortunately, the efforts of the unions have helped address the issue of underreporting, and they are shedding light on the need for change. It is important to accurately report work-related injuries as soon as possible. In addition to reporting the injury, it is also important to seek proper medical treatment for any injury and to notify the doctor that the injury is work-related.

If you or your family member has suffered a work-related injury, contact an attorney who has experience helping construction workers with injuries and can discuss your available options.