Government figures show more people getting sick or hurt at work
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As the number of workers at in-person job sites rose in 2022, so too did the number of workers getting hurt or sick on the job. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics out Wednesday shows that 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses were voluntarily reported by employers last year, though that number is likely an undercount.
Not everyone who’s injured on the job reports it to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. Some may be gig workers quickly moving to a different workplace; others may have different reasons, said Marissa Baker, an associate professor at the University of Washington.
“Folks fear retaliation, they don’t recognize their injury as being caused by work,” she said.
Among the injuries that are counted, many are in warehousing, per Debbie Berkowitz, a fellow at Georgetown and former OSHA chief of staff. Those jobs often require a lot of repetitive motions that can lead to injuries “to your back, to your upper extremities, your wrist and your shoulder and your elbow,” she said.
OSHA has begun to crack down on warehousing companies — especially Amazon — this year, citing the company for violations at least six times. And starting in March, the agency will require many firms to report more injury information.
“They used to just have to submit their summary of how many injuries and illnesses they had, and now they’ll have to submit their detailed records,” Berkowitz said.
That, she added, could expose companies who’ve been underreporting.
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