Cutting Budgets Means Alarming Rise in Worker Injuries

Alarming trends have formed that show a correlation between work-related injuries and a decrease in staffing, according to a recent study by CSEA’s Occupational Safety and Health Department.
The decreasing number of state Executive Branch workers were examined over the past several years and compared with the number of incidents involving workers being injured while on the job. As the number of workers decrease, the number of worker injuries increases.

The number of lost work days per incident has also increased as a result of the decrease in workers. Medical and wage costs have also increased as well as the average cost to the state per incident and the indirect and unreported costs related to incidents.

The study includes data from 2007 to 2011, but current indications show that the trend is not reversing. Public sector injury rates have also dropped across the county. The NYS injury rate has been around twice the national rate in this 4 year period.

“What is so alarming is that budget policies are simply trying to under-fund state and local government without any regard to the workers’ safety,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “In doing so, it has also increased the cost of state operations by pushing workers to their limits.”
Increased incident rates mean an increase in wage and medical costs to the state since workers will be out on leave and workers’ compensation costs will increase.

A congressional report determined that up to 69% of workers around the nation do not report their injuries, and will use sick or vacation time to cover lost wages and personal insurance to cover medical costs.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed tax breaks to the wealthy and pushing for election year property tax reductions, tied to a flimsy scheme that will short-change localities even further. Budget cuts of recent years have already taken a toll on the work force, which is becoming more bruised and battered.”

Source: The Work Force