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Underreporting of Work Injuries in the Construction Industry

Construction IndustrySecond only to the agricultural industry, injuries among construction workers are a concerning and prevalent issue in America. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that approximately one in 10 construction workers experience an injury on the job, and almost 5,000 suffer a fatality each year. Even more alarming is the evidence that shows injuries within the construction industry are grossly underreported. The following examines the severity of the problem and why it exists. It also provides vital information on what injured workers can do to protect their rights, including their right to pursue full and fair compensation.

Severity of Unreported Injuries in the Construction Industry

Underreporting of work injuries is not a new issue. In fact, several studies have established it as an issue in the United States. Unfortunately, no one truly understood just how severe the problem was, or why it existed. That is where the study from The Center for Construction Research and Training comes in. They queried 614 construction workers and asked them if they had ever experienced a work injury and failed to report it. A total of 135 workers responded (22 percent). Of those, one-fourth stated they had suffered an injury and not reported it to their employer.

Why Workers Fail to Report Injuries

While most employees realize that they can be compensated for work injuries, there are several reasons that they fail to report them. Fear of negative consequences from an employer was, by far, the biggest and most prevalent. Other reasons included feeling that pain was simply “a part of the job,” wanting to remain eligible for safety awards or prizes, concerns over the filing process, and not wanting their employer to see them as “weak.” Work peers were also found to be a factor for some.

Timely Reporting of Injuries is Crucial

For some construction workers, injuries do not occur suddenly. Instead, they are an accumulation of smaller injuries. Back sprains that continue to go untreated and eventually lead to severe back problems. Aches and pains in the hands or arms that turn into repetitive motion injuries. When the smaller, seemingly unimportant injuries go unreported, it can further complicate a claim that is absolutely needed by the injured employee. In some situations, it could even lead to a complete denial of a claim.

It is also important to understand that an unreported injury can aid and abet the employer in safety violations. Rather than change policies to ensure safety for everyone, they continue to go about things the same way, putting more workers at risk. Further, employees should understand that retaliation for a claim is prohibited; if you believe you are retaliated against after a work injury, you have the right to litigate against your employer for wrongful termination or discrimination on the job.

Our San Jose Work Injury Lawyers Can Help You

It is true that filing a claim can be a daunting and frustrating process. Thankfully, you do not have to navigate the complex process alone. Contact Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP and obtain the skilled assistance you need. Dedicated and experienced, our San Jose work injury attorneys will protect your rights and aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Call (408) 289-1417 and schedule your free consultation with us to learn more.

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