Injuries

Reporting Construction Injuries

Six Reasons Workers Fail to Report Construction Injuries

By Farlyn Lucas
February 16, 2022
construction project stages

Construction work accidents and resulting injuries are a daily occurrence in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these accidents and the correlating injuries go unreported by management. The injured worker cannot successfully file a Workers' Compensation claim for reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages unless they file a Workers' Comp claim.

The underreporting of work-related injuries is a severe problem in construction work as well as other industries. According to an exploratory study on unreported workplace injuries, workers commonly fail to report a workplace injury. Six of the most common reasons for failing to report a workplace injury are listed before.

 

1. SELF-DIAGNOSIS

Workers often self-diagnose an injury and delay properly reporting injuries sustained on the construction site.

2. FEAR OF NEGATIVE REPERCUSSIONS

Workers have reported the fear of negative repercussions if they report a workplace injury to receive Workers' Compensation and reimbursement for medical expenses.

3. FEELING THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE

Construction site injuries are typically covered by Workers' Compensation regardless of who was at fault. An additional claim for monetary damages might be available if a third party caused the injury.

4. COMPLEXITIES OF REPORTING

The law provides workers with immediate compensatory recourse for injuries at work. The worker must report their workplace injury to their manager and the medical practitioner overseeing their care.

5. PRESSURE TO REMAIN SILENT

Injured construction workers have reported pressure to remain silent after experiencing a workplace injury. Workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation and should immediately report the damage to their management and see a doctor for treatment of the injury.

6. EMBARRASSMENT

Workplace injuries are common, and workers should not let embarrassment stop them from reporting their injuries. Individuals suffering from a financial burden may feel ashamed to admit their need for assistance, and this is an unnecessary barrier to receiving the critical help available through Workers' Compensation.

How Often Do Fatal Work Injuries Occur?

In 2019, a total of 5,333 fatal work injuries were reported nationwide. Transportation incidents accounted for 40% of these fatalities. Falls, slips, and trips were the second most common catastrophic workplace event, followed by violence and other damages caused by persons or animals. Employers must report fatal work injuries, and the worker’s family and loved ones may be entitled to their loved one’s Workers’ Compensation benefits.

In 2019, 306 fatal workplace injuries were reported in the state of Florida alone. The Florida deaths fell into different categories, including 106 fatal transportation injuries, 69 fatalities associated with falls, slips, and trips, 44 associated with exposure to harmful substances or environments, and 43 work-related deaths related to violence and other injuries by animals or persons.

construction injuries

Failing to Report Near-Misses

Workplace safety regulations are often based on the type of accidents that are reported. Reporting near-misses is often overlooked due to fear of retaliation, embarrassment, and desire to avoid extra hours of training. Reporting near-accidents encourages safer work environments, while failing to create a near-miss report on a construction site could lead to the same or similar circumstances resulting in a severe injury.

Near-misses may include situations like:

  • Slipping on condensation but not falling
  • Tripping over unmarked steps without injury
  • Tripping without injury while navigating through packaged materials laying on the floor
  • Falling but not injured while attempting to ascend or descend on an unstable ladder
  • Tripping and falling in a dimly lit space without injury
  • Continuing to work while dizzy or feeling unwell
  • Two co-workers roughhousing and making contact with a third party
  • Co-worker failing to use appropriate fall protection
  • Worker’s clothing being snagged momentarily in equipment
  • Live, damaged electrical cord seen lying in water but addressed before contact is made
  • A 5-gallon drum of paint unsecured and falling from above without injury
  • Poorly maintained scaffolding without incident
  • Nearly coming in contact with harmful substances

Key Takeaways

  • Many construction accidents and the resulting injuries go unreported daily in the United States and this leaves the financial burden on the shoulders of the silent worker.
  • Workers have reported delaying Workers’ Compensation requests due to fear of negative repercussions or pressure to remain silent.
  • Workers often self-diagnose their injuries and delay medical care.
  • Workers are entitled to Workers’ Comp benefits and should not be ashamed to request assistance for medical expenses or lost wages.
  • Failing to report near-misses leaves other workers at a higher risk of injury.
  • Workplace injuries sometimes result in death, and family members may be entitled to their loved one’s Workers’ Comp benefits.

About The Author

Farlyn Lucas is a freelance writer and content creator from South Florida with a background in social rights and public health. She focuses on providing readers with insights, helpful tips, updates, and information that may benefit them.

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reporting construction job injuries