The Center for Construction Research and Training recently released a study that shows a disturbing trend among construction workers. Construction-related injuries appear to be significantly underreported, which means our understanding of construction risks and hazards could be incomplete.
The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 carpenter apprentices, 58 percent of whom reported that safety incentives or negative consequences of work-related injuries on their work sites. If workers were disciplined in some way for having an injury, they were 50 percent less likely to report them.
This demonstrates a widespread fear of reprisal for reporting accidents and injuries on construction sites. The pressure not to call attention to injuries or hazards could lead construction workers to forsake their own safety. This is especially troubling because the survey was of union workers, who traditionally enjoy greater protections and safety advocacy.
If you have been injured on the job, it is absolutely essential that you report your injuries to a supervisor or health and safety authority. Not only will it help ensure that you receive treatment for your injuries, but reporting accidents can help your employer understand work-related hazards and prevent them to ensure a similar accident doesn't happen again.
In addition, reporting injuries is important if you need to pursue damages down the road. Having a record of the accident and being able to identify with whom you have discussed it could come in handy if you need to pursue legal action against your employer or a third party.
If you have been hurt at work you should also consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you review the circumstances of the accident, determine who may be at fault and pursue appropriate claims to compensate you for lost wages, medical bills or pain and suffering.
Source: EHS Today, "Union Carpenters: 'You're Pretty Much Screwed If You Get Hurt at Work,'" Sandy Smith and Laura Walter, Dec. 7, 2012
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