If you believe the reports sent into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that oversees a safe work place, injuries in the workplace are on the decline, according to an article in Business Week. On-the-job injuries have fallen 48% in a decade, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. While that appears to be good news, a closer look tells a different story.
Worker injuries that require more than a Band-Aid are supposed to be logged by the company. If the company has a high rate of injury, its worker compensation insurance costs can rise. The company can also be precluded from qualifying for lucrative government contracts.
Not surprisingly, a number of worker injuries often go unreported.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found this out when it surveyed 504 medical practitioners on the job. More than half told investigators they were ordered to downplay injuries and about one-third were told to provide lesser treatment to the workers. If a Band-Aid would suffice, do not stitch the wound, they were told. Out of fear of being fired, workers never took the issue further.
OSHA has no idea whether reports of worker injuries issued by corporations are true because it relies on the honor system. The agency conducts no independent or routine inspections.
That means that toxic exposures, burns, and limb damage, among other injuries, are flying under government radar.
An estimated six million occupational injuries happen to U.S. workers every year, and thousands die on the job. Workers’ compensation in Florida is an insurance plan created by law to cover those injuries. Still, some employers try to minimize claims by intimidating workers.
If you have experienced a workplace injury and are having difficulty pursuing a claim, an experienced Jacksonville workers’ compensation attorney will help you obtain the coverage you are entitled to by law.