The Kansas City Business Journal noted that reported injuries had declined over the last 10 years. However, there were concerns that this may not be entirely due to a decline in workplace accidents. Instead, it is possible that employees simply were not reporting these accidents out of fear of retaliation by their employers.
Injuries at the workplace purportedly have decreased by 31 percent. However, cases being tried in court concerning retaliation against workers for filing workers’ compensation claims have risen by around 100 percent during that same period. These statistics may be part of the reason for why the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are taking action against retaliation by employers.
Not everyone agrees with what OSHA is doing. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that generally takes the side of businesses when it comes to employer-employee disputes, feel that some businesses over-report the number of injuries to ensure regulators that rules are being met.
Be that as it may, workers’ compensation laws were put in place so that employees would not have to first take parties to court before receiving compensation for workplace injuries. Since employers control the environment in which workers participate, it is generally felt that medical expenses and loss wages due to any workplace injury should be left to the employer to pay. In theory, such a system would also motivate businesses to concentrate more on workplace safety to reduce the number of worker injuries to begin with.
Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation laws can be complex and therefore injured workers frequently require the assistance of an experienced attorney to help them out with their claims. As employers frequently assign their employees dangerous tasks, it is essential that those injured while performing the tasks be provided with an avenue to recover for what has occurred.
Source: Kansas City Business Journal, “Workplace injuries fall as employer retaliation rises,” July 23, 2013