One of the best ways to improve safety in the construction industry is to provide a supportive working environment that treats injuries with the seriousness they deserve. Although reporting construction work accidents has a positive influence on safety and employee health, the truth is that many of these incidents continue to go unreported every year.
Reasons Construction Workers Fail to Report Their Injuries
In 2011, statistics for the U.S. construction industry showed 721 fatal occupational injuries and 71,600 reported occupational injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, some researchers estimate that up to 68 percent of work-related injuries and illnesses are not captured in the national injury surveillance system—meaning the actual numbers are likely much higher.
In a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 27 percent of construction workers polled admitted that they had failed to report a work-related injury. Employees gave several reasons why they hesitated to make a report, including:
- “Part of the job.” Researchers found that there was a cultural trend among construction workers to expect injuries and pain as just part of the job, with some employers encouraging this misconception.
- Self-diagnosing. Many employees were likely to classify their pain as discomfort, claim that symptoms were not serious enough to seek medical help, or believe that their symptoms were due to age or short-term work demands.
- Social pressure. Employees reported not wanting to be seen as weak by their supervisors or coworkers, and expressed concerns about abandoning their teams at crucial points in the job.
- Disincentives. Economic factors played a large role in the decision to report, since respondents claimed that they could not afford to miss work or be reassigned to lighter (lower-paying) duties.
- Retaliation. A fear of negative consequences after injury reporting was rampant among workers. Workers expressed fears of being removed from overtime consideration or other high-paying opportunities, suspension, or even termination—even though these actions are illegal.
- Red tape. Although employers have a duty to educate employees on the necessity and the process of injury reporting, many workers failed to report injuries because they didn’t know which injuries required reporting, the reporting process was too complicated, or they didn’t know how to submit an accident report.
If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.