Workplace injuries happen. Despite efforts to prevent them, they still occur and all too often. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded, “that private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020, down from 2.8 million in 2019, a decrease of 5.7 percent.” Additionally, for every 100,000 fill-time equivalent workers injured there are about 3.5 workplace fatalities.
What are the top reasons for workplace injuries?
- Trips, slips & falls
- These injuries are the top cause of all workers’ compensation claims. From poor lighting, clutter, wrinkled carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, to icy walkways, fall related injuries can occur. Implementing good housekeeping and organizational practices as well as, removing obstructions and proper cleanup of messes can prevent falls from happening.
- Being struck or caught by moving machinery
- Working with heavy machinery comes with its hazards. It’s necessary to take the safety measures of all equipment seriously. Proper training and handling of equipment as well as best safety practices will help safeguard your business against accidents.
- Vehicle related accidents
- When vehicles are involved there is always the potential for accidents. Being struck by another vehicle, falling from a vehicle, items falling off a vehicle that were improperly secured are all common scenarios for injury. To limit injuries, conduct regular safety training, designate routes for vehicles to travel and label obstructions clearly.
- Fire and explosions
- Gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials or open flames increase the risk of injury from fires or explosions. OSHA recommends following its hazard communication standards to help workers avoid these types of injuries. Additionally, material safety data sheets for all chemicals should be kept on hand and employees should be required to wear personal protective equipment at all times.
- Repetitive stress and over exertion
- Complaints of back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders are the most costly workplace injuries. These injuries contribute to loss of productivity and millions of dollars in health benefit payouts annually.
What do I do if I’m hurt on the job?
- Report your injury to your supervisor. Your employer is responsible for promoting a safe working environment. They are required to assist you in reporting your injuries to your workers’ compensation carrier.
- Seek appropriate medical attention. Whether severe or minor, you are entitled to medical attention. For serious injuries, call 911. But even if symptoms do not quickly present themselves and you don't think the injury was serious, visiting the doctor for a complete medical examination is recommended. Getting a comprehensive medical evaluation will provide evidence of the cause and the extent of your injuries. This information will be used to help determine your eligibility and the extent of workers' compensation benefits. Your doctor will also be able to tell you when it is safe to return to work.
- Submit claim to workers’ compensation. You have the right to file a work comp claim after your injury. If your employer or HR representative gives you a hard time, know that that is illegal. Workers’ compensation is there to provide benefit coverage to the injured employee without regard of fault.
- What does workers’ compensation cover? Medical bills and treatment and a portion of lost wages. Injuries can persist, you are entitled to get your injuries treated so you can make a full recovery.
- Can I be fired if I’m too injured to return to work? This concern is valid, but no, legally you cannot be terminated by your employer for a work related injury. If you have been penalized or terminated as a result of your injury, your employer could face serious civil or criminal charges.
At McMullin Injury Law we’ve seen our fair share of workers’ compensation cases. We understand the battle that can come when dealing with multiple parties to get your claim covered. Our team of attorneys and paralegals will help you navigate the process. If you have questions about an injury that occurred at work, give us a call, we’re here to help.