Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Safety incentive programs for workers not always so safe

Safety incentive programs are often put in place with the asserted goal of decreasing the number of workplace accidents, but what such programs too often do cause workers to underreport accidents or injuries. Pennsylvania workers' compensation laws are designed to compensate workers injured on the jobs, but such laws can have no impact if such injuries or dangerous conditions remain unreported.

Before 15 workers were killed 180 injured during the BP refinery explosion, so-called safety incentive actually prevented employees from reporting unsafe conditions and injuries out of fear of reprisals. OHSA is currently investigating such incentive programs as OSHA would like accurate reporting to take place at workplaces to accurately assess workplace risks.

Attorneys experienced in workers' compensation and worker' injury litigation understand the obstacles such workers face. Workers depend upon the wages received to support their families and therefore are reluctant to report what is actually occurring at the workplace. Experienced attorneys understand that whistleblower statutes have been put in place to protect workers from being punished or even fired for addressing various concerns.

Like so many initiatives put in place to allegedly to benefit workers, safety incentive programs may be put in place to hide the fact that little is being done regarding worker safety. Whatever the goal may be concerning such safety incentive programs, such programs have not been leading to increased workers' safety.

Workers should be allowed to report injuries or unsafe conditions without being subjected to various repercussions.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Do Safety Incentives Discourage Workers from Reporting Injuries?" by Andrew G. Simpson, May 10, 2012

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