Thursday, October 14, 2010

Should I Report My Injury? Report Shows Large Number of Work-Related Injuries Go Unreported

We routinely speak with Minnesota workers who are injured on the job who have fears or concerns about reporting that injury to their employer. It is almost always in your best interest to report that injury to protect your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights.

A 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office shows that employers and workers routinely underreport work-related injuries and illnesses.

OSHA requires employers who employ more than 10 employees to record every work-related injury or illness that results in lost work time or medical treatment other than first aid. Shockingly, the GAO report suggests that OSHA data failed to include up to two-thirds of all workplace injuries and illnesses.

The study indicated that employers failed to report illnesses and injuries for fear of increasing their workers’ compensation insurance costs, or undermining their ability to win contracts.

Employees did not report their work-related injuries because they feared being fired or disciplined and worried about losing out on safety incentive bonuses or rewards. Some also failed to report injuries due to employer-required drug testing following work injuries.

The study also involved surveys of occupational health practitioners. More than a third of these practitioners reported that employers or workers had pressured them to provide minimal medical treatment to hide or minimize work-related injuries or illnesses, or to record them as non-work related illnesses or injuries. Two-thirds of these practitioners also reported that they observed workers expressing fear of discipline or retaliation for reporting an injury.

Unfortunately, employers fail to report work-related injuries to their workers’ compensation insurers all too often. This leaves an injured worker in a bad spot when it comes to getting the medical treatment they need, or getting wage loss benefits if they can’t work. Employees also often have concerns about reporting an injury for fear of retaliation or disciplinary action. Employer retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Minnesota is prohibited by law.

In Minnesota, your employer is required to fill out and file a First Report of Injury (FROI) if you are hurt at work. If your employer refuses to fill out a FROI and send it to their insurer, we can help you report your injury.

If you have concerns about whether to report your injury or not, if your employer won’t report your injury to their insurance company, or if your employer is pressuring you not to report your injury as work-related, contact us at Meuser & Associates, for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. Call us at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.
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