The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Editorials

November 15, 2013

Editorial: Accident underscores the need for reporting

When an employee is injured at work, few people immediately think of the paperwork that’s bound to follow. The first concern is the welfare of the injured employee. Then, as things settle down, it becomes time to fill out the reports.

That latter action doesn’t always take place. But such reports are excellent tools to prevent future accidents. The data, when compiled across the state and country, gives companies, and certainly insurance firms, an idea of ways to protect employees.

Comparisons are made to show the number of days that could be lost by a specific injury and what type of profession can incur the most accidents, among other data.

In 2012, there were nearly 3 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. Statistically, there has been a decline in injuries in recent years. That’s a good sign for workers and bosses alike.

An estimated 792,700 injury and illness cases were reported in 2012 among the approximately 18.2 million state and local government workers -- for example, police or fire protection, resulting in a rate of 5.6 cases per 100 full-time workers. That figure was essentially unchanged from the previous year.

We know these stats thanks to companies that report injuries.

When firms don’t report, under established guidelines, they are investigated. And that’s the case with ELSA, an automotive component manufacturer in Elwood.

In August, a 70-year-old man was at ELSA. He worked for Manson & Mefford, a Madison, Ind., trucking firm. His left leg was severely injured in a forklift accident.

Industrial accidents, where there is a fatality or injury that requires more than three days of hospitalization, must be reported within eight hours of the incident. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation.

The accident at ELSA underscores the importance for companies to report injuries.

The first concern should always be the safety of an injured worker. But for the sake of all workers, accidents must be reported to the proper agencies.

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