Number of Work-Related Injuries in Certain Industries Is Under-Reported

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Unfortunately, some industries do not necessarily have accurate reporting mechanisms on work-related injuries and illness, which make it more difficult for regulators and lawmakers to identify and address occupational health problems.

The prevention of work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses is something that requires the input and cooperation of lawmakers, employers, and employees. In order to devise the necessary safety procedures and enact workplace safety regulations, the government relies on data regarding workplace injuries and illnesses provided by employers and industry experts.

A new audit report
from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (OIG) has called on the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to take additional steps to deter the underreporting of workplace incidents, injuries, and illnesses. As explained in this article, the OIG report claims that policies on discipline, drug testing, and incentives may dissuade workers from reporting injuries, which results in underreporting and lack of workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers. Moreover, underreporting of work-related injuries can also prevent the implementation of appropriate safety measures and regulations.

MSHA currently has methods to detect and deter underreporting, but OIG is recommending that the agency expand and enhance its methods to better target those mines that are more likely to under report incidents, injuries, and illnesses. OIG is also recommending that MSHA develop guidance programs to address injury reporting retaliation against miners and to encourage miners to report injuries.

Under-reporting isn’t just an employer or industry problem either. In fact, a new study from the University of California Davis School of Medicine indicates that federal agency statistics vastly undercount the number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the agricultural industry. Safety and Health Magazine reports that researchers estimate that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses misses approximately 78 percent of injuries and illnesses. Researchers suggest that government undercounting is likely due to the government’s focus on mid- to large-sized farms – which employ less than 50 percent of agriculture employees – to the exclusion of small farms, self-employed farmers, and family members.

Ankin Law Office, LLC is a Chicago-based personal injury law firm with a reputation for professionalism, passion, and results-driven service. Our practice areas include motor vehicle accidents, workers compensation, social security, wrongful death, and class action lawsuits. In all areas, our commitment is to getting our clients the medical care and financial compensation they deserve following a serious injury.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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