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IRS workplace safety issues cited in new IG report

The headline reads, "Hundreds of IRS Workers Injured on the Job Every Year." If your first reaction is to snicker and say, "They must suffer lots of paper cuts," you'd be well off the mark. The fact of the matter, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, is that IRS workers across the country, including Texas, report in excess of 800 new injuries every year and most of them are due to slips, trips and falls.

Generally speaking, the TIGTA report says that in the majority of cases, the IRS can do little to prevent these incidents. It credits the federal tax agency with having processes and policies in place for preventing and responding to most injuries when they do occur. At the same time, the report says there is room for improvement in dealing with injuries that result in workers' compensation claims.

Specifically, TIGTA inspectors reviewed several hundred claims from 2013 to 2015 and checked out the locations where the injuries occurred. They said that in all but 13 of the cases the conditions that had contributed to the work injuries had been dealt with to reduce the possibility of future incidents.

However, in about 35 percent of the incidents, IRS safety officials failed to indicate whether post-injury investigations had been preformed, as required. Indeed, there were notable instances when safety officials never even got word that an injury had been suffered. In addition, TIGTA inspectors said there was no record that required regular safety inspections had been done at 65 percent of 564 IRS facilities around the country.

The report did recommend changes to address all the shortcomings identified and IRS management agreed to take action in response.

Reporting a work injury to the proper officials when one occurs is an important step in making sure you receive all the benefits available through federal workers' compensation. Working with an experienced attorney is another step worth taking to protect your rights.

Source: AccountingToday.com, "Hundreds of IRS Workers Injured on the Job Every Year," Michael Cohn, July 21, 2016

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