Many Americans Afraid to Report Injuries on the Job, Says New FindLaw.com Survey
EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly ten percent of American adults has been injured on the job but did not report it for fear of retaliation, such as being fired. That's the finding of a new survey from FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.
According to the survey, nine percent of Americans say that they have suffered an injury while on the job but did not report it to their employer because they were afraid they would suffer consequences, such as being fired, not being promoted or being harassed. Three percent of survey respondents said they suffered more than one injury that they did not report due to fear of retaliation.
There were more than three million reported workplace injuries and illnesses in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to WestlawNext data, more than 100 lawsuits were filed last year claiming retaliation for filing workers' compensation claims.
The vast majority of unreported injuries, according to the FindLaw.com survey, involve slip-and-fall accidents, repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, overexertion, being caught in machinery, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Other injuries included burns and workplace violence, including physical assaults from co-workers.
Men and women were equally likely to say that they had unreported injuries.
"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 Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. "In addition, OSHA may cite employers who offer rate-based safety incentive programs – such as those that give bonuses or prizes if no one from a team is injured over a given period of time – if that safety incentive program discourages workers from reporting accidents or injuries. If a worker is injured on the job, they should immediately notify a supervisor, and if appropriate, a union safety representative."
Information on workers' compensation and employee rights can be found at free websites such as the FindLaw Accidents & Injuries Center http://injury.findlaw.com/workers-compensation.html/.
The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.
Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.
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