Injuries on the job are common, and just as common is the failure of employees to report those injuries. While I can understand the reasoning behind the injured not reporting an injury, I’m here to say that not doing so is a mistake. If you fail to report an injury because you want to appear tough or because you fear what others may think of you, don’t let your need to be a hero at work override your medical and safety needs. By not reporting your injury and receiving proper medical attention, you may worsen your medical condition and in the end your workers’ compensation claims.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect employees’ rights to compensation for injuries and illnesses received on the job. If you are injured on the job, you are required by law to report your injury within 4 days to your employer. You may report you injury later, but the possible benefits you receive may be penalized.
Why Workers Don’t Report their Injuries
I have had many clients in the past inform me that the reason they do not report their injuries to their employer is because they are trying to be tough. Work-related injuries often occur in places like construction worksites. I can understand that a work atmosphere like a construction site instills a need to be a strong worker, but it is never a good idea to hide your injuries.
In an article published by the National Safety Council in the Safety and Health Magazine, it discusses reasons why employees fail to report both unsafe work conditions and injuries they sustain. It mentions a study conducted by the AFL-CIO-affiliated Center for Construction Research and Training, which identified reasons why construction workers fail to report injuries. The study found that 72% of workers who responded indicated their failure to report was because the injury was “small.” Other popular responses as to why they didn’t report included:
- Accepting pain as part of the job
- Not wanting to be labeled a “complainer”
- Believing home treatment would be sufficient
- Not being sure if the injury was work-related
- Fearing the loss of future or current jobs
- Not being able to afford time off without pay to see a doctor
- Not wanting to lose out on the safety incentive for no lost work time
Another article from EHS Today discusses the Top 9 Reasons Workers Don’t Report Near Misses. The author provides nine reason worker often don’t report hazardous conditions on the job. These conditions can obviously lead to a work injury. The reasons are:
- Peer pressure
- Loss of reputation
- It’s easier not to
- Lack of interest from the organization
- Perceived as pointless
However, you should never let those reasons prevent you from reporting, and employers should foster an environment for you to do so.
What You Should Do
If you are injured on the job, no matter how “small” you think the injury is, I highly recommend that you report the injury to your employer within four days as required by law. It may seem trivial at the time given certain injuries, but you never know when the injury may progress to something more serious. By reporting the injury on time you will ensure that your workers’ comp claim is as strong as possible and you will not weaken or penalize your claim. If your claim has been denied, do not hesitate to contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney at McDivitt Law Firm.