An ever-rising pressure to meet more stringent earning expectations has coincided with a growing number of workplace injuries and workers' compensation claims in San Diego and beyond.
That's according to a study recently published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics. Researchers gleaned data from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and documented significantly higher injury and illness rates in companies that meet or just beat analyst forecasts for earnings, as compared to those that missed or beat their mark. These higher worker injury rates are believed to be the result of higher workloads heaped on individual workers, alongside unsafe reductions in discretionary spending.
Further, study authors concluded workplace safety is stronger when workers' compensation premium costs are less sensitive to individual injury claims. This makes sense because it means there will be less employer pressure to discourage reporting of worker injuries and claims. Injuries were also less prevalent among companies that didn't rely heavily on government contracts and business.
Earnings Expectations and Worker Injuries
While workplace injuries are undoubtedly a multi-faceted problem, researchers say when there is high pressure to meet certain marks, workplace safety can fall by the wayside. Strong correlations - enough to posit causation - were found between pressure to attain certain earnings goals and the relative safety of the workers.
The OSHA data spanned from 2002 to 2011, and involved sampling nearly 900 companies (excluding banks) and more than 35,000 work injury claims. Controlling for several other influential factors, the worker illness and injury rates were 5 percent to 15 percent higher when companies met or just beat their earning targets. Workers in these scenarios had more work to do and yet had access to fewer safety and prevention tools. When supervisors had reason to believe they were missing the mark on expected earnings, they pass on that additional pressure to workers. Employees may work longer hours, they may be expected to work faster and safety protocols and precautions may be set aside or ignored entirely.
It was also in these environments that managers and companies did not take adequate time to properly train or equip workers.
So at workplaces that met or just beat their earnings forecast, 1 in 24 workers suffered an injury, as compared to those companies where workers totally missed or comfortably beat those anticipated earning marks, where 1 in 27 workers was injured.
Workers' Compensation in California
As our San Diego workers' compensation lawyers can explain, this system is one of no-fault, meaning workers don't have to prove the company was in some way negligent in order to claim benefits. With few exceptions, any business with one or more employees must carry workers' compensation under California Labor Code Section 3700. Workers need to show their injury or illness occurred while they were acting in the course and scope of employment.
Exclusive remedy provisions do not allow employees to sue their employers for additional compensation outside of what is provided through workers' compensation. If you have questions about the amount to which you may be entitled, your time limit to file or your legal rights, we can help.