In the 2016 Presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump won every Rust Belt state including Pennsylvania. Workers in the area were won over by Trump's campaign promise to bring back American jobs and protect American trade interests. But, could increase in jobs raise the number of worker's compensation claims?
According to a new report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of occupational injuries and illnesses continued its 13-year decline in 2015. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels said he is "encouraged" by the decline but says the 2.9 million non-fatal injuries and illness in 2015 are "still far too many."
What could cause an increase?
Another industry expert, author Brian Fielkow, said he correlates the lower rates of illness and injury to lower job rates. As employment opportunities decline, so do work-related injuries. Further, as the overall demand falls for products from American industries, so does the rate of work-related injuries.
For example, as the demand for American steel declines, workers in the steel industry feel less rushed in their work. When employees do not rush their work, they are injured less. If the inverse is true, this could mean an increase in demand and employment could also lead to an increase in workplace injuries and illnesses.
Is there any way to prevent a potential increase?
As the date of Trump's inauguration draws nearer, optimism among Rust Belt workers and the American manufacturing industry rises. To ensure that a potential rise in demand for products and jobs does not coincide with an increase in the rate of worker's compensation claims, employers and employees need to do their part to achieving a safe workplace.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) cites the need for leadership and management to make safety the top workplace priority. SHRM also says that management should learn to distinguish reckless behavior from honest mistakes to cultivate trust in reporting among workers.
Always be safe
As the potential for workplace injuries rises, you should be aware of your workplace rights. If you or a loved one are injured on the job, you have a right to seek compensation from your employer.
A trusted worker's compensation attorney will listen to your needs and resolve your claim. Awareness of risk and an understanding of rights leads to a safer workplace for all.