Some employees hesitate to file claims for workers' compensation benefits fearing retaliation from their employers.
An incident involving a UPS worker illustrates the need for employers to implement safety procedures and provide proper assistance to employees with on-the-job injuries.
In December 2018, a United Parcel Service employee in New Hampshire fell from a loading dock breaking his hip, pelvis, elbow and wrist. A company manager placed the injured man in a package cart and wheeled him to the parking lot for transfer to a hospital.
Response from OSHA
UPS reported the incident to OSHA the next day. OSHA responded that UPS was guilty of failing to maintain proper safety standards. It rebuked the company for moving the injured employee and “failing to call emergency services.” An OSHA inspector found that there was insufficient safety training, preventative action and accident investigation steps in place. Following the incident, some UPS employees alleged that company managers retaliated against workers who reported on-the-job accidents. They went on to say that many workplace accidents were not reported because managers threatened employees with termination. UPS denied the allegations. The company voluntarily agreed to review information about how employees should respond to accidents and when to contact emergency personnel. Ultimately, OSHA dropped the fine they planned to assess and pursued no further corrective action against UPS.
Employers should have safety initiatives in place and provide workers with the appropriate training. Anyone who sustains a work-related injury has the right to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits without fear of retaliation from the company. The assistance of an advocate accustomed to working with insurance adjusters can ensure the correct submission procedure, which also reduces the potential for the insurer to deny benefits.