Workplace incentives slow workers compensation claims

Posted on Apr 21, 2010

A New York Times study has explored the world of "safety bucks" or incentives employers give to employees as meant to encourage workplace safety and reduce work-related injuries. Critics argue that it instead discourages individuals from reporting accidents and injuries.


Safety bucks are coupons that can be redeemed like real money at restaurants, big box stores and area businesses. They are one of many safety incentives employers have introduced the past few years in an effort to cut down on work-related injuries and their costs. 


Workers must grapple between reporting an injury and risk hurting their peers' benefits or going untreated to keep peace at work. Employers feel the expense of the system and worry about fraudulent claims. However, there is no independent study that has proven or unproven fraudulent claims being on the rise.


Other companies work not in an incentive program, but in a punishment system, known as progressive discipline when injuries sustained at work are deemed as partially the worker's fault. The system starts with a warning, weaves through probation and suspension and ends with job termination. 


Their are cases when employers have discouraged workers from going to the hospital, claiming the employer will pay for the employees medical bills. Employees have agreed, only to never see a penny. Some employees have reported lying to a doctor or emergency room, claiming they sustained their injury at home to not risk termination or alienation from their peers at the workplace. But, in the end the cost is more as they face mounting medical bills they alone have to pay.

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