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Do Safety Incentives Discourage Workers From Reporting Injuries?

Insurance Journal (05/10/12) Andrew G. Simpson

A 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office report indicates that workers are discouraged from reporting work-related injuries when safety incentive programs are in place, and a more recent study calls on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to do more to highlight how these incentives and other such programs impact reporting. The GAO says OSHA could be recognizing some employers for exemplary safety systems without considering the effect of incentive programs on reporting because the agency’s guidance and field operations manual do not address incentive programs. An OSHA memo issued in March to regional and whistleblower program officials warns employers that they could violate record-keeping responsibilities “if the incentive is great enough that its loss dissuades reasonable workers from reporting injuries.” The memo has yet to be added to the field operations manual.