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Workers should report all on-the-job injuries

Many people get injured at their workplaces. Their injuries can range from mild to severe. Unfortunately, in many Boston cases, workers may be reticent about reporting their injuries to their employers. They should do so, and employers should create workplace climates that make employees feel comfortable doing so. A key reason why is so that eligible employees can secure the workers' compensation benefits to which they are legally entitled.

Workers' compensation benefits can go to most workers in Massachusetts, including those who are not U.S. citizens, those who are paid under the table, and volunteers. The benefits can cover the cost of medical bills and may cover a measure of any income that is lost due to work-related health problems. By law, when injuries and other health problems are work-related, employers cannot tell workers to pay for those problems with the workers' regular insurance.

Despite that, workplace injuries are often not reported to employers. Workers fear retribution, which can include a total or partial loss of the work going forward, and corresponding loss of income. Many workers feel that is simply too big of a risk to take.

Yet, because workers' compensation is a right for workers in cases that qualify, workers should still seek it when they need to. That includes reporting the injury to their employer. On the workers part, it will help if they get clear assessments of their injuries and other work-related health issues. Those assessments will let them clearly communicate to their employer about the manner and duration that their work will be affected.

Employers, for their part, can let workers know from the beginning about all health and safety standards on the job and about how they expect those to be followed. Doing that can help to preclude problems. At the same time, employers should communicate to workers that there will not be retribution of any kind for reporting to them about problems that do occur, including those that involve filing claims for workers' compensation.

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