When And How Should An Injured Worker Report Their Accident?

A new federal study reveals that 75 percent of employers have programs in place that discourage workers from reporting job injuries for which they should be compensated.

In addition, in 2009 the federal government reported that:

  • 66% of injured workers avoid reporting their injuries out of fear of reprisal
  • More than 50% of occupational health workers injured on the job said that they were pressured to play down the extent of their injuries.

If you are injured on the job it is essential that you immediately report your injury to best protect your rights to workers compensation benefits.
Remember that “on-the-job” injuries include a single accident, or workplace exposure caused by repetitive work. They also include aggravation of a preexisting injury or medical condition, and chemical or other work site exposures.

It’s important to your fellow workers, too. Not reporting your injury only makes the workplace more dangerous for those you work alongside, the federal government warned in these studies. The reports states that, “Without accurate data, employers engaged in hazardous activities can avoid inspections and may be allowed to participate in voluntary programs that reward employers with exemplary safety and health management systems by exempting them from routine inspections.”

After an injury on the job remember:

  • Immediately notify your supervisor of your injury. 
  • Your employer must post a sign in a prominent place stating that you must report your injury in writing within four (4) working days after the accident. Your foreman, supervisor or manager can fill out a written injury report if you are unable to do so. 
  • Your employer is required to provide the forms needed to report your accident or workplace exposure. However, whether or not forms are available, always report immediately, and tell your fellow workers you have done so.
  • If your injury arises from a single event, you should report the accident immediately. Don’t wait. 
  • If your injury is due to workplace exposure, such as wrist problems resulting from checking groceries, report the injury date within four (4) days of when you first believe you are in need of medical attention.
  • Failure to report your injury within four (4) days does not legally preclude you from reporting the injury at a later time. Late reporting, however, can result in suspicion that you were not injured at work. Late reporting can result in denial of your claim or loss of compensation for each day the injury is not reported. 
  • You have a valid job related injury even when you have a previous back injury or medical condition that is substantially aggravated from an accident at your work or a workplace exposure.

For example, since childhood, a thirty-five year old worker has lived with degenerative disc disease. At age thirty, the disc problem worsened due to an automobile accident during a vacation and a work related injury two months later. A month ago, after falling from a ladder while working, the worker injured his back – further aggravating previous back problems. Despite these issues, the worker has a valid job related injury.


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