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Construction Accident Injuries Are Likely Underreported

A new report suggests that federal data on construction accident injuries is likely flawed because of the widespread underreporting of these personal injuries.The report by the Center for Construction Research and Training is titled Injury under Reporting among Small Establishments in the Construction Industry.It has been published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Construction accidents often involve wrongful death and some of the most serious personal injuries. They are also a major source of workers comp claims in the United States.

According to the report, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics may be inaccurate because it underestimates the actual number of construction workers who are injured every year.The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include self employed or federal construction workers injured in accidents every year.These workers constitute approximately 25% of the national construction workforce.Data that does not factor in construction accidents and injuries that involve a quarter of the national construction worker population, is likely to be inaccurate. Additionally, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers often find that small construction companies are likely to under report injuries, or fail to report these injuries.

According to the report, recent changes made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to record-keeping procedures could also likely have contributed to underreporting of construction injuries.Between 2001 and 1995, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made changes to its procedures, and has probably inadvertently encouraged underreporting such injuries.

Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data represents just a quarter of the injuries suffered by Hispanic construction workers in small companies.Approximately 42,000 of construction injuries that occur in small construction establishments are not reported annually.The researchers analyzed construction accident data at small establishments that employed 40% of Hispanic workers, and found that between 8% and 16% of the construction worker injuries at these companies were reported.In comparison, in establishments that employed up to 35% of white, non-Hispanic workers, between 21% and 25% of construction injuries were reported.

The construction industry has been touting its safety record in 2010, in order to prove that the industry’s reputation of being one of the most dangerous workplaces in the country is undeserved.Nothing could be farther from the truth, if you go by this report.Construction injury numbers have not declined as much as the industry would like to have you believe.The drop in numbers may simply be a result of skewed reporting procedures. The fact that up to 42,000 injuries that occurred at construction sites supervised or operated by small construction companies went unreported is definitely a matter of concern.

The authors of the study suggest that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration focus on construction injury prevention efforts at small construction firms.The authors also want a modification in employment recordkeeping standards, so that injuries suffered by independent contractors are also reflected in official records.

The Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent construction workers injured in accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.If you have been injured in a construction accident, speak with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer at our firm.