According to the 2009 Occupational Self Safety and Health Administration Report (OSHA), Americans are routinely under reporting work-related injuries.

The report recognizes that employers fear that if there worker’s compensation costs increase this might hurt their chances of winning contracts.  Furthermore, the report noted that workers did not report job — related injuries because they feared a negative response from the employer from losing their job to being passed over for promotions, bonuses or prizes awarded to those who maintain safe workplaces.

Concerned that this trend is undermining the health and safety of American workers, the chairman of the health, education, labor and pensions committee, Sen. Tom Harkin, expressed a need to improve reporting of workplace hazards so the risks faced by employees can be addressed.

The Government accountability office noted that while the rate of workplace injuries has declined there have been academic studies indicating that the OSHA data is flawed as it may exclude up to two thirds of the injuries and illnesses occurring at the workplace.

In response to this report the safety administration is poised to stop this trend of underreporting by improving auditing techniques as recommended by the accountability office.

The safety administration noted a flaw in OSHA’s auditing process of solely relying on employer reported injury and illness data and plans to establish more accurate auditing practices which will include in all audits interviewing random employees to check the accuracy of the data provided by the employer.

It is hoped that this will increase employee safety.

Written by Brenda McFarlane

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