Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.npr.org
Here is a short but extremely important and insightful article from National Public Radio that highlights how workers’ compensation shortcomings affect injured workers and their loved ones. The OSHA report itself is a 12-page read, including the executive summary, with around four pages of end notes, putting the document at 20 worthwhile pages total. The bullet-point list from the NPR article is very helpful, and each of the bullet points is very important. However, there are two thoughts that jumped out:
1.“Employers pay only 21 percent of the costs of workplace injuries through workers’ compensation. Families end up bearing 50 percent of the costs and taxpayers pay 16 percent when workers resort to food stamps or Social Security Disability.”
2. “On average, injured workers earn $31,000 or 15 percent less in the 10 years following a workplace injury”
These points are important because they illustrate two of the many costs when workers’ compensation systems don’t live up to their obligations. I will continue to address these costs as discussion is merited in future blogs.
However, if you’re a loved one of an injured worker, you’re well aware of the stark reality: there are very real financial costs, among many other issues, to deal with when a person gets hurt at work. These financial costs are reflected in both treatment of injuries and reduced income after a work injury, as listed above.
If by some chance you don’t personally know anyone who has ever been injured on the job, I suspect that you’re still a taxpayer. As a taxpayer, and hopefully an empathetic human being, we should all be aware of how we subsidize businesses and insurance companies when it comes to workers’ compensation incidents.
Because if the workers’ compensation system worked as it was supposed to, even acting as “an incentive to provide a safe workplace” as mentioned in the article, fewer people would be injured. Though it may be idealistic, then businesses would be more productive, and workers would have safer places to work. Finally, society would have fewer opportunities to subsidize a system that is not always making a good-faith effort when it comes to providing the benefits that an injured worker needs to move on with life.
|A few hours after ProPublica and NPR issued the first in a series of reports about workers’ compensation “reforms” sweeping the country, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration coincidentally released a paper linking workplace injuries to income inequality.
The OSHA paper and ProPublica/NPR stories come to similar conclusions about how some injured workers have been affected by a decade of changes in workers’ compensation laws, including cutbacks in benefits and more difficulty in getting benefits.
But OSHA goes on to say that many injured workers and their families find themselves in “a trap which leaves them less able to save for the future or to make the investments in skills and education that provide the opportunity for advancement.”
Among the paper’s other major points: