Jim Mongelli looked down to see the crimson stain of blood coming from his arm. It wasn’t shaping up to be a very good day for the heavy equipment worker from upstate New York.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal being a small cut,” said Jim. “I went to clean the snowplate off on my truck and I didn’t grab my gloves.”
But it was a busy day and there was fresh January snow to be cleared from the streets. So he bandaged up the cut, hopped back on the truck and finished his shift, as well as the rest of the workweek finally making to to Friday’s quitting time.
Then Saturday dawned bringing Jim a year of nightmares and near-death experiences inside his local hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
That little cut, combined with Jim’s existing battle with diabetes, gave him a severe case of necrotizing fasciitis, also known by it’s more menacing name “Flesh Eating Disease.”
“Unfortunately because I didn’t think it was a big deal being a small cut I didn’t file an accident report because I was afraid of not having my job back when I was done with my recovery,” Jim said.
He isn’t the only one.
Two out of three workplace injuries go unreported, according to a report by the House Committee on Education and Labor. The reasons for the silence are a little hard to pin down since the injured employees are, well, silent.
But a little study by a few folks at Harvard listed fear, employer intimidation, workers comp costs and hassle, stigmatization, or just a lack of knowledge regarding workers comp laws as reasons for not speaking up.
Sometimes, the employee might say something to their boss but that’s as far as the info gets, skewing state and OSHA reporting statistics.
Jim’s story gives us a perfect example of something that seems to go on every day. For the stunning conclusion to his story watch your inbox for the next InjuryFree newsletter, coming soon.
In the meantime, here are some juicy stats for you to chew on (and hopefully think critically about).
What are some barriers you see in the modern workplace that keep people from reporting injuries?
NONFATAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES, PRIVATE INDUSTRY (OSHA Data)
Total recordable cases:
2,986,500 in 2011
Cases involving days away from work:
908,300 in 2011
Median days away from work:
8 in 2011
Cases involving sprains, strains, tears:
340,870 in 2011
Cases involving injuries to the back:
182,270 in 2011
Cases involving falls, slips, trips:
225,550 in 2011