When company culture is one of high-pressure to meet earning forecasts, workplace injuries are more likely.
That's according to a new study published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, which cross-analyzed work injury data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with information on how close they came to anticipated earning marks. What they discovered was those companies that met or just exceeded their financial goals had far higher rates of workplace injury than those who missed the mark by a long shot or who comfortably surpassed it.
Those workplaces that were cutting it close, it is surmised, are more likely to have high-pressure working conditions. This is dangerous for two reasons. The first is it means workers often are expected to carry an additional workload, either by working overtime hours or having more work completed faster. The second is that these companies were shown less likely to adequately invest in necessary safety prevention, such as training and equipment. Both of these put workers at increased risk of on-the-job illness or injury.
How Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Benefits Help Workers
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports the state has an estimated 89,000 cases of work injury and illness cases annually reported to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Approximately 65 percent of worker injury reports come from one of the following industries:
- Educational & Health Services
- Public Administration
- Trade, Transportation & Utilities
Two of these - manufacturing and trade/ transportation/ utilities - are expressly known to have high-pressure work environments, as demands to produce and deliver products on a tight schedule can result in additional pressure on workers to meet strict goals.
Workers' compensation benefits, as outlined in the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, give workers the right to pursue no-fault coverage for injuries and illnesses that occur in the course and scope of employment - regardless of whether the employer was negligent. The trade-off is workers do not have the right to sue their employers if the company is negligent (this is called exclusive remedy). That means they cannot collect damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress. However, they may be able to collect:
- A portion of lost wages;
- Specific loss benefits (for losses of specific body parts or functions);
- Medical care (related reasonable surgical and medical services rendered by a physician or other health care provider);
- Death benefits (for survivors).
Workers can receive partial disability benefits or partial disability benefits, based on the extent of injuries. Total disability benefits are available for up to 104 weeks, while partial disability benefits are available for a maximum of 500 weeks. Partial disability benefits are paid even when you do return to work if you are forced to return to work in a lower-paying position due to your work-related restrictions.
Why High Pressure Work Forces Are More Dangerous
The study found that of 35,000 workplace injury incidents from 2002 to 2011 within 870 workplaces, companies that only barely met or exceeded financial analysis forecasts had injury rates that were 5 to 15 percent higher than those who fell far short or comfortably exceeded those forecasts.
Pressure to meet earnings, study authors concluded, meant companies were less likely to prioritize worker safety. In some cases, they discovered managers were explicitly overlooking workplace safety practices.
If you have been injured at work in Scranton, our workers' compensation attorneys are available to help you determine the best course of action to maximize your compensation.