So what would keep your average construction worker from reporting an injury that he suffered on the job? More specifically, what would keep more than a quarter of construction workers reporting their injuries?
Big ego/tough guy complex? Concerns of negative attention? Or could it be something more?
A new study from the AFL-CIO-affiliated Center for Construction Research and Training sites that fear of negative consequences may keep construction workers from reporting injuries. Consequences for reporting injuries could fall into several categories, including:
Losing eligibility for incentives
Becoming labeled as a “complainer”
It’s a hassle
The surprising results of the survey taken by 135 construction workers indicated that 27 percent admitted they failed to report a work-related injury. The findings included various reasons for keeping hush about an injury. Several participants claimed the injury was "small" or part of the job. Some did not want to take time off for medical attention. Others experienced fear of not being hired again or losing out on incentives. Another important concern for not reporting the injury was that too much paperwork would be involved in filing a workers' compensation claim.
Regardless of the reasons provided by these construction workers, it’s important for organizations to understand why it is so important to report injuries – not only for construction workers but all workers who are injured on the job. Workers are not doing themselves or their fellow employees any favors by not reporting the injuries (and seeking medical attention if necessary). By reporting incidents, the situation can be corrected so it does not happen again. If the same employees keep cutting their hands when they could be using safety gloves or gloves specifically designed to minimize cuts for those tasks, it will save the organization downtime and lost production by addressing and fixing the problem.
To build a culture of safety, organizations must create a safe working environment, and an awareness and understanding of how to continually improve that environment.
Communication should be stressed as an important component in accident prevention. Employees need to be taught what to do if they are injured, and they should be encouraged to follow through with the procedure without fear of repercussions. If an employee is confused about what to do about an injury or discouraged from reporting it, that employer is putting their employees in harm’s way.
The reality of workplace injuries is that most accidents – if not all of them – are 100% preventable through ongoing safety training efforts and using the proper protective equipment. When you take the time to follow through on providing training and equipment you greatly improve the well-being of your workers and protect your company from incurring expensive workers’ compensation costs.
To learn more about signing up your workers for ongoing safety training, call 800-523-5367 or click on the following link to speak with a workplace safety specialist at Arbill.
Have a safe day!
The study sited in this communication was published in August in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics.