Tag Archives: unreported workplace injuries

Are Texas Workplace Injuries Under-Reported??

At the height of his influence, former Governor Rick Perry was darting across the country to tout his role in the Texas Miracle.  As other states have continued to slowly climb their way out of the Great Recession, Texas seemed to be blasting off like never before.  Particularly for those wanting to start a business and hire a cheap workforce the Lone Star State has rarely shined brighter than in the early 2010s.

But at some point, we have to ask what allows the state’s workforce to remain so cheap, even as wages remain flat and rising property values put an enormous strain on everyday families.  What is Texas doing to keep our work environment so low-cost??

As Jim Malewitz of the Texas Tribune reveals in a new report, part of that puzzle is what we’re not doing… properly documenting workplace injuries.

On any given day across Texas, truck drivers might crash their vehicles, construction workers tumble from scaffolding or refinery workers inhale nauseating fumes.

But many of their injuries will be documented poorly by employers and insurance companies. Some will go unreported entirely — as if they never happened. As a result, no one really knows how many Texans — or Americans, for that matter — are hurt at work.

What is written down about workplace injuries  — and when it’s written — is more than just scorekeeping. Documentation can largely determine whether workers get medical care covered by insurance companies, or fall into whatever social safety net exists, relying on government aid and public programs to recover and support themselves.


In its report to the Legislature last year, the state Division of Workers’ Compensation touted a remarkable statistic: Texas workers are filing far fewer claims than they once did — a 31 percent drop over the past decade.

The report offered many possible explanations for a trend that mirrors other states, including more safety awareness at job sites, stepped up watchdog efforts from state and federal regulators and new, safer technology.

But in one clause of one sentence of its report, the division touched on another factor potentially at play: “the possibility of under-reporting workplace injuries and illnesses.”

Make that a probability of under-reporting.  Technological advances aside, blue-collar work across the state has only increased over the last decade as more people continue to move in, and require more homes and businesses to be built and serviced.  More workers with a drop in injury claims?  Something definitely doesn’t add up.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a workplace injury claim in Texas, make sure to visit the Texas Department of Insurance Workers Compensaion page.  And remember all claims must be filed within 30 days of the incident to be eligible.

Let’s hope that more Texas workers can be made aware of their rights, and don’t have to continue suffering in silence.


(Photo Credit:  Jones Lawyers