Why Are Construction Workplace Injuries Underreported?

Why Are Construction Workplace Injuries Underreported?

Five years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began requiring employers to report serious injuries that result in amputation, eye loss, or hospitalization in addition to workplace fatalities.

Accurate reporting on workplace accidents is essential to provide employees with safe working conditions, but every year, injuries on construction sites go unreported. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Spellen Law, LLC take a look at why the “official” figures don’t show the whole story.

Reasons Construction Workers Fail to Report Injuries

A 2013 study found that 27% of construction workers indicated they had failed to report a work-related injury. The sample employees gave these reasons:


The primary reason was that employees felt their injuries were too small to report. When they would self-diagnose their injuries, they claimed their symptoms were not severe enough to require medical attention or that it could be remedied with home treatment (over-the-counter pain medication, heat pads, anti-inflammatories).

Negative consequences

The second theme that emerged was the fear of retaliation from management. The consequences included workers not wanting to lose a safety incentive, lose their job, or lose the potential of being rehired in the future.

“Part of the job”

Construction workers admitted to accepting that injuries and pain came with working in the industry. The leading causes of these fatalities were falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between objects, known as construction’s “fatal four.” Although this industry comes with more hazards than others, accurate reporting could influence better safety regulations. OSHA states that eliminating the fatal four would save almost 600 lives in the US annually.


Economic factors played a significant role in the decision to report. Employees stated they could not afford to miss work or be reassigned to duties with lower pay.

We’re Here to Help

We understand that working in a construction job can be rewarding, but it can also pose a threat to your health and safety. If you have suffered a workplace injury, our attorneys at Spellen Law, LLC can help you file for workers’ compensation.

Call our construction accident attorneys today at (205) 810-2275 to learn more about your rights under workers’ compensation laws.


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