A Chicago bricklayer wrenches a back muscle in a construction accident which leaves him with back spasms. Does he report it? A foreman is directing construction site traffic when a backhoe runs over her foot. Does she report it? A carpenter is working on a ladder when someone bumps into it and the ladder, with the carpenter, topples to the ground. The carpenter lands on a knee. Is that injury reported?
According to reliable sources, construction accidents are unreported by a significant margin. Although workers with on-the-job injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation, not everyone files a claim. One individual reportedly said, “You’re fired before you hit the ground.”
A study recently looked at underreporting among union carpenters. It found that 85 percent of carpenters claimed there were negative consequences related to construction injury reporting.
Apparently, the researchers uncovered “considerable evidence of fear of reprisal for reporting injuries,” with 30 percent of carpenters saying that injuries “were almost never or rarely reported.”
The study was paid for by the Center for Construction Research and Training and conducted by professionals from the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, members from the Carpenters District Council of Great St. Louis, and the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. In the study, 1,020 carpenter apprentices were asked to document their exposure to efforts to reduce injury reporting.
The anonymous surveys yielded examples of why underreporting occurs. One carpenter said, “I worked for a company that had to maintain a zero percent accident policy to be able to keep their contract with a major company. I got the impression, which was strongly implied, if I got hurt, I was no longer employed.”
Those who suffer on-the-job injuries at construction sites have rights. To learn about the options, it is a wise idea to speak with a legal professional with experience in this specific area of law.
Contact the construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC today if you have been hurt on a construction site. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.