Are Occupational Injuries Under-Reported?

The federal government may seriously be undercounting the number of occupational injuries that occur each year, according to some researchers.

Michigan State University’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports that in 2012, there were 86% more work-related skull fractures in Michigan than were reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BLS said in 2012, there were 170 work-related skull fracture cases in Michigan. BLS tabulates its injury numbers via direct reports from employers.

The researchers used different sources to count the injuries and the records were obtained from Michigan’s 134 hospitals, the state’s workers’ compensation agency, and death certificates.

The study found 316 work-related skull fractures in Michigan in 2012 – 86% more than the number BLS counted, which was 6.

Other findings from the study include:

Facial bones were fractured most often (69%) followed by the base of skull (19%).
41% of the skull fractures were caused by “struck by” incidents; 35% were caused by falls; 15% were caused by assaults.
11 of the injured workers were self-employed, and therefore weren’t required to report their injuries to BLS, and
74 of the injured workers were hospitalized, and 197 were treated in the ER.

The researchers say better statistics can help target interventions to prevent future workplace injuries. The uncounted injuries not only change the total numbers, there are also changes in the percentages of injury types and circumstances involved.


If you’ve been injured on the job, always report it to your supervisor. Then contact our office for a free consultation on your workers’ compensation claim.


Source: Safety/News Alert

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