GAO Issues New Report on Underreporting of Workplace Injuries

errorIn a survey of 504 occupational health practitioners (including company doctors & nurses), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the government has not done enough to ensure that the reporting has been accurate.

The findings include:

  • More than 33% of the doctors/nurses said they were pressured to provide insufficient treatment so that the job-related injuries did not show up on injury logs.
  • More than 50% of the doctors/nurses said they were pressured from upper management to downplay injuries & illnesses.
  • More than 65% of the doctors/nurses said they knew of employees who would not report injuries & illnesses to avoid disciplinary measures.

The findings were further complicated by the fact that employees are often rewarded for maintaining “safe-work” environment for long periods of time, thereby reducing reporting.

The GAO is recommending that the Secretary of Labor direct OSHA to do the following:

  • Require inspectors to interview workers during records audits, and substitute other workers when those initially selected are unavailable;
  • Minimize the time between the date injuries and illnesses are recorded by employers and the date they are audited;
  • Update the list of high hazard industries used to select worksites for records audits; and
  • Increase education and training to help employers better understand the recordkeeping requirements.

OSHA agreed with these recommendations.

The highlights of the GOA report can be found HERE.

See also: OHShub.com’s post: OSHA to Toughen Federal Oversight of State Programs

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