A new survey by FindLaw.com says 21% of U.S. workers have missed time at work because of an injury suffered on the job. The survey also breaks out the most common types of injuries and who is more likely to suffer a serious injury at work.
Men (26%) were more likely to be injured than women (16%).
The breakdown on type of injury (totals more than 100% because one-third of workers had more than one type of injury):
- musculoskeletal injuries other than repetitive motion (overexertion, lifting, back pain, pulling throwing, etc.): 37%
- falling/slipping: 31%
- repetitive motion: 20%
- injured by machinery or struck by object: 17%
- motor vehicle accident: 12%
- workplace violence: 5%, and
- burn: 3%.
Musculoskeletal injuries other than repetitive motion was the top category for men and women. The second most common for women was repetitive motion and for men it was injured by machinery or struck by object.
Top type of injury by age group:
- 18-24: motor vehicle accident
- 25-34: falling/slipping
- 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+: musculoskeletal injuries other than repetitive motion.
FindLaw’s survey also says nearly 1 in 10 (9%) workers have decided not to report a workplace injury for fear of retaliation. About 3% admit having multiple injuries and still didn’t report them to management for fear of reprisal.
Retaliation isn’t necessarily firing. It can also be harassment on the job or being passed over for promotions.
OSHA takes a dim view of situations in which employees feel they can’t report injuries. Administrator David Michaels has spoken out against safety incentive programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries because they or their co-workers will miss out on a monetary or other type of reward.
Under Michaels, OSHA has also put more emphasis on its enforcement of whistleblower programs. More than twenty whistleblower statutes protect employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.
Recently, OSHA made it easier for employees to file whistleblower complaints. They can now do so online.