According to an article posted on New York Times’s website, many employees are not reporting work-related injuries and are consequently are not enacting their rights to safe working conditions. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report Monday, indicating that the underreporting is a result of employee fears of hurting work and contract opportunities, being disciplined or fired, increased workers’ compensation costs and preventing benefits to colleagues. Still, workers who don’t report injuries also have to foot the bill for any medical visits and supplies, prescriptions, and therapy necessary for treatment.
The lack of reporting also has a direct affect on the accuracy of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data and reports. Inefficient data can prevent new and more efficient legislation regarding workers’ compensation from passing. The GAO also reported that over a third of occupational health practitioners surveyed stated that employers had pressured them to “play down” work-related injuries or illnesses in order to minimize the number of reports.