Over the past dozen years, workplace injuries have been on the decline according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, this slow and steady decline might be about to change in the next few years as workplace safety regulations get slashed by President Trump. Regardless, though, the figures that the BLS relies on in its reports are self-reported, making them very unreliable for getting an insight into workers’ compensation issues.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Sees Long-Term Improvement in Workplace Accidents
When one of their employees gets hurt while on the job, many employers are supposed to report the event to the BLS. Using this information, the BLS tracks trends in workplace safety, which has a huge influence on workers’ compensation laws across the country, including in Missouri.
According to the BLS reports, workers have been getting hurt on the job less and less over the last decade. Since 2015, the latest set of BLS available, the number of workplace injuries per calendar year has dropped every year for twelve of the past thirteen years, with 2012 being the only exception in the trend. In 2015, the BLS reported that approximately 2.9 million workers had suffered non-fatal injuries or illnesses suffered at the worksite. That was down nearly 48,000 from the year before. On average, these injuries happened at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers.
Slashing Workplace Regulations Could Ruin This Trend
Unfortunately, current politicians at the local and national level have made clear their intent to gut many of the workplace safety regulations that have been behind this decline. Even the regulations that are not in the crosshairs are likely to be left unenforced because of widespread budget slashes to agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Self-Reported Figures Make Data Unreliable
However, the numbers used by the BLS to outline this trend of workplace safety were all self-reported by employers. Needless to say, these employers have a vested interest in underreporting workplace injuries because it could hurt them in subsequent workers’ compensation claims. This makes the data used by the BLS unreliable.
To make matters worse, though, many of the workplace safety regulations that are being pulled back have to do with reporting requirements by employers. For example, the repeal of OSHA’s Volks Rule, which required employers in dangerous industries to keep records of workplace injuries for five years, makes it far more difficult to track which positions in a company have track records of injured workers. As these reporting regulations are relaxed, we might even see the decline in workplace accidents continue, but not because fewer workers are getting hurt – it would be because those injuries were simply going unreported under the new regulations.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
If you’ve been the victim of a workplace injury, pursuing a workers’ compensation claim can be the best way to ensure you get what you need to recover. The personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at the Smith Law Office can fight for your rights both in and out of court. Contact us online or call our St. Joseph law office at (816) 875-9373.