While workers’ compensation systems have been set up in every U.S. state to provide protections to workers who are injured on the job, a recently released reported from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has revealed that workplace injuries can end up having more significant costs and impacts on injured workers and their families than previously realized.
In fact, some of the major conclusions of this report, entitled Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, include that:
- Injured workers, their families and taxpayers – not employers and their insurers – ultimately pay most of the financial and social costs associated with workplace injuries.
- Workplace injuries often contribute to growing income inequality issues, as injured workers and their families can be permanently pushed out of the middle class while workplace injuries for lower earners can mean never getting the chance to make it into the middle class.
- Because employers don’t shoulder the majority of the costs of workplace injuries, their incentives to make workplaces safer (to prevent these injuries in the first place) have decreased significantly.
A Closer Look at the Impacts of Workplace Injuries
More specifically, here’s what OSHA found in this groundbreaking report:
- Employers usually only cover about 20 percent of the costs of workplace injuries.
- In contrast, injured workers and their families usually cover about 50 percent of these costs.
- Taxpayers end up shouldering nearly the same amount of these costs as employers, as about 16 percent of these costs are usually covered by government aid (like federal disability benefits) when injured workers are not able to return to work.
- Within the decade following workplace injuries, injured workers tend to see a 15 percent decrease in their earnings.
As the report states in noting these findings:
The failure of many employers to prevent millions of work injuries and illnesses each year, and the failure of the broken workers’ compensation system to ensure that workers do not bear the costs of their injuries and illnesses, are truly adding inequality to injury.
For our continued discussion regarding OSHA’s findings on workplace injuries and income inequality, be sure to check out the second part of this blog series. It’ll be published soon.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick
Have you suffered a workplace injury or developed an occupational illness? If so, you cannot rely upon your employer or insurance companies to look out for your best interests. Instead, you need an experienced lawyer on your side, who can help you protect your rights and obtain the full amount of the benefits to which you are likely entitled.
In such cases, injured workers can turn to the experienced Colorado workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick. To find out more about how our trusted attorneys can help you, call us at (303) 447-2644. You can also email using the contact form at the side of this screen.
From our offices based in Boulder, we provide the highest quality legal services to injured workers throughout the Denver and Boulder metro areas, as well as throughout the state of Colorado.