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When Employees Fake Injuries
One of the most vexing problems we face is employees who fake injuries to collect workers' compensation. Here are some hints to help you handle this thorny problem.
Injury Fakers Do Genuine Harm
Faking injuries also does real harm. For one thing, it artificially inflates your injury rates, thereby jeopardizing the integrity of the statistics you use to measure the effectiveness of your safety program. This distortion can lead to mistakes and misjudgments that compromise the health and safety of everybody in the workplace.
Faking injuries to collect insurance also has an adverse effect on a company's financial performance. Though a single incident may be of little consequence, the cumulative effect of repeated fake injuries is higher workers' compensation premiums. This effect is felt not just within a single company but nationally across entire industries.
Back and Neck Injuries Particularly Susceptible
Injury faking also tends to follow certain patterns--a discernible spike in back and neck muscle injuries during the last few days of an intensive project, particularly by employees who are working on a temporary basis.
Why is it that after three or four months of nothing but obvious injuries, injury statistics in the wind-up period undergo a drastic change? Could it be that the last few months are finally taking their toll on back and neck muscles? Does it have something to do with the fact that during this period housekeeping tasks have increased and employees are bending over more often to pick up tools, boxes and trash?
Or, is this sudden increase in lumbar discomfort the symptom of the disease called "pink slip flu"? It is not suggested that every temporary employee who reports a neck or back injury during this period is faking. But pointing out that the prospect of unemployment could make at least some temporary employees more apt to fake an injury. Only a fool would fail to recognize that the chance to collect workers' compensation during a lay-off constitutes temptation.
How to Protect Yourself