When employers put safety incentive programs into place, this would seem to be a good thing for Atlanta workers. After all, anything designed to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and encourage safer practices on-the-job should be beneficial. The reality, however, is that there is actually some controversy over whether all safety programs are a good thing or not. In particular, the type of program which has raised questions about its effectiveness is a program where all workers get a bonus of some type if a certain number of days pass without an injury being reported or without an employee taking time off from work.
The problem with this type of safety incentive is a simple one: it may simply encourage employees not to report workplace injuries, rather than actually making injuries less likely to happen or making worksites safer.
Reporting injuries is essential to getting Atlanta workers’ compensation benefits, so it is very harmful to workers if they fail to alert their employer after they get hurt. Any worker, regardless of what safety incentive programs are in existence in his worksite, needs to notify his employer right away if he gets hurt on-the-job and needs to begin the process of making a workers’ comp claim to get medical and disability benefits. An Atlanta workers’ comp attorney can provide help with this process of making your claim and seeking benefits.
Safety Incentive Programs Could Discourage the Reporting of Atlanta Work Injures
Safety News Alert recently published an article looking at the disagreement regarding whether safety incentive programs offering bonuses to all workers are a good thing or a bad thing. In the article, a workers’ compensation insurer disputed past claims about problems with these programs and argued they could make a good centerpiece of a safety campaign. The workers’ comp insurer claimed the incentives were typically too low to cause employees not to make reports of injuries when injuries occurred, but instead that the incentives just worked the way they should to encourage employees to be more careful on-the-job.
Of course, this claim was being made by a workers’ comp insurer who stands to benefit if fewer people make claims. The claim that these incentive programs are a good thing can also fail when subject to scrutiny. If the incentives are so low that they don’t prompt workers to decline to report injuries, then why would the incentives simultaneously be considered enough encouragement to change behavior? This is an especially pressing question in light of the fact that the incentive to avoid getting seriously hurt would seem to be motivation enough for employees to be safe on the worksite. If workers are not being cautious to prevent serious injuries so neither they nor their co-workers get hurt, it would be unlikely that a small incentive would cause them to suddenly start taking safety serious.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is the agency entrusted with helping to make worksites safer, disagrees with the workers’ compensation insurer regarding whether these safety incentive programs are beneficial. OSHA argues that workers have enough incentive to try to avoid injuries and that the programs simply result in people who get hurt being peer pressured not to report the injury. The programs may also convince workers to feel guilty reporting because they don’t want their coworkers to lose out. Since just 70 percent of injuries are reported anyway, there is no reason to create yet another incentive for workers to keep quiet and not get the benefits they deserve.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.