Workplace injuries are a widespread issue across the United States. Injury incidents are even more prevalent in the construction industry where one in every 10 workers is injured and approximately 5,000 fatalities occur annually. Although construction businesses are required to foster a safety environment, these incidents often go unreported for various reasons.
Despite knowing that they have the right to report their injuries under OSHA law, work pressures often discourage employees from doing so. This leads to a major case of underreporting. So, how can employers encourage workers to report their injuries? Our OSHA defense attorneys will tell you how.
Calm Workers’ Fears
Workers understand that they can be compensated for valid work injuries; however, they still fail to report them due to a fear of negative repercussions. These negative consequences may include a fear of what their peers may think or possibly jeopardizing the company’s ability to obtain positive recognition where safety is concerned. Some workers also feel that these types of hazards are just a cost of working in construction. A culture of communication must be established to ensure that workers feel comfortable reporting injuries and near misses.
How to Improve Reporting
Recognizing and reporting injuries will improve everyone’s safety. By failing to report incidents, hazards continue to go unnoticed, placing everyone else in danger. Furthermore, employers will only increase their chances of a safety violation, OSHA citations, and other penalties. One of the ways employers can improve reporting is by offering incentives for doing so. It is important that employers remember the following when promoting proper reporting:
- Make reporting simple: Make reports accessible and easy to fill out.
- Do not play the blame game: If the work environment is hostile, workers will be less likely to report their injuries. This also includes performing drug testing, which will only decrease a worker’s likelihood of reporting.
- Address the issue promptly: Addressing issues immediately shows employees that they are your priority. If not, they will not see the value in reporting their injury.
- Have an open mind: Be objective and allow the injured worker and witnesses to discuss the incident from their perspective before drawing conclusions.
- Consider anonymous reporting: Anonymous reporting will eliminate your ability to follow up with the injured party; however, it will increase reporting overall.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.