Survey: 28 Percent of American Workers Report On-the-Job Injuries

More than a quarter of American adults say they have been injured while working, often missing substantial time from work as a result, according to a new survey by FindLaw.com, a legal information Web site (www.findlaw.com).

In accordance with June being designated as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council, FindLaw.com sought to find out how workplace injuries are affecting American workers. The survey found that 28 percent of American adults say they have been injured on the job. Among men, the figure climbs to more than one-third (36 percent) who say they have suffered work-related injuries. Of those injured on the job, 43 percent said they missed more than one week of work as a result of their injury. And 31 percent said they were off the job for more than a month.

Under "Time Missed from Work Due to Injury," respondents reported missing:

  • Less than one day (20 percent)
  • One day (10 percent)
  • 2-5 work days (21 percent)
  • Between a week and a month (12 percent)
  • More than one month (31 percent)
  • No answer/unsure (6 percent)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 4 million nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses in 2006. According to the FindLaw.com survey, more than half of those injured on the job--53 percent--filed a worker's compensation claim as a result of their injuries.

"While workers' compensation laws are intended to help employees who are injured on the job, filing and processing claims can be a complicated process," said Mark Rothstein, professor of law and medicine at the University of Louisville and author of Cases and Material on Employment Law, 6th Ed. (Foundation Press: 2007). "Where and how an injury occurred can have a tremendous impact on the validity of a claim. For instance, an injury may be covered even though it occurred outside of the workplace as long as the injury was a result of employment or 'within the scope of employment,' such as a traveling salesperson or an injury at a company-sponsored picnic."

The survey was conducted using a telephone survey of a group of 1,000 randomly selected, demographically balanced American adults, according to Findlaw.com. Survey results are accurate plus-or-minus three percentage points, the site says. Full survey results are available upon request at www.findlaw.com.

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