A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that employees who have the ability to take paid sick leave were 28 percent less likely to be injured on the job than people who can’t take paid sick leave.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the results were similar across a variety of job industries. In their research, they concluded that construction workers were 21 percent more likely to suffer a work injury if they weren’t allowed to take paid sick leave, while health care workers saw an 18 percent increase.
Despite issuing some interesting findings, the study stopped short of examining why workers were more likely to be injured if they couldn’t take paid leave. Although the study did not examine a correlation, it seems likely that some people find it harder to concentrate if they are working while battling an illness, which not only jeopardizes their safety, but the safety of their co-workers. Dr. Abay Asfaw, who helped conduct the study, echoed those sentiments.
“If fewer people work while they are sick, this could lead to safer operations and fewer injuries in the workplace,” said Asfaw.
The study involved 38,000 people who took part in the National Health Interview Survey between 2005 and 2008 while working in the private sector. The study only focused on employees in the private sector because many public sector employees do not get paid sick leave.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Ben Heimerl comments
Studies like this are often skewed depending on who is interpreting them, but the results aren’t that surprising. It makes logical sense that healthy employees will have fewer accidents than sick employees. It probably holds true in almost any aspect in life. Healthy people should be able to function at higher mental and physical levels than their sick counterparts.
On a related note, this study brings up a good point in regards to taking time off after a work injury. Oftentimes I hear of workers who use sick leave in the immediate days after an injury in hopes that they get better with a few days rest, and so as not to ‘ruffle any feathers’ within the company.
Unfortunately, this good deed does not go unpunished. If the injury does not get better, the employee will be raked over the coals for not reporting it right away, and if they wait too long they could lose certain workers’ compensation benefits.
Related source: Huffington Post