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April 3, 2015

OSHA data release: Injured workers forced to handle rising cost of treatment

Preventing worker injuries is the main component of stopping worker inequality for employees.

Preventing worker injuries is the main component of stopping worker inequality for employees.

Who will help you if you’re hurt on the job? What happens if you lose a limb, fall off a work area or burn yourself with chemicals? Recently released data points to you, the worker, as the main source for bill coverage and money issues during this time.
Workers are forced to pay for 50 percent of workplace injuries out-of-pocket, according to OSHA. The other 50 percent is split between worker’s compensation, federal, state and local governments as well as private health insurance claims. Worker’s compensation pays only 21 percent of costs.
More than 30 states have made cuts to worker’s comp benefits, said ProPublica. Many states have different rules concerning each type of injury. The compensation or time off of work will vary depending on where you live or where you seek medical treatment.
The news release included the following points affecting injured workers:

  • If workers have to pay the bulk of injury costs, workplace safety is undermined.
  • Less than 40 percent of eligible injured workers apply for worker’s compensation.
  • Workplace injuries can cause employees to earn 15 percent less money in the 10 years following an incident. This can lead to problems with household bills, health insurance claims and quality of life.

Changes in worker compensation and wages can affect class mobility related to income. If a person or family cannot support themselves in the class they are currently a part of, they have no clear way of moving or changing the way they live. When injuries happen and finances become unstable, many turn to federal aid, increasing the number of people using food stamps and other similar programs.
OSHA compliance and employee training program regulations are two ways employers can make a change. Ensure work environments are safe so workers won’t get injured. Stop the cycle at its start.

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