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Are Company Doctors Accurately Reporting Workplace Injuries?

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In handling workers’ comp cases, we have found that company doctors may downplay the severity of accidents that occur at work. Injured workers come to attorneys complaining of problems that continue to hurt weeks after the incident. Or worse, they are concerned because they received an icepack and a band-aid from the company doctor when it’s clear that they should have been taken to the emergency room — by ambulance. What can be done and who’s to blame? Doctors report to others up the corporate ladder and profits can be more important than employee well-being. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps track of reported safety concerns and incidents. Doctors and staff are under pressure to keep any concerns quiet to avoid fines for safety violations. The Whistleblower Protection Program gives rights to employees who notify OSHA of any concerns. The US Government Accountability Office has urged quicker audits and more worker interviews when concerns are reported — and also reviews at random intervals to help combat inaccurate corporate injury reporting. Read more in this recent Charlotte Observer newspaper article and also in the GAO posting.