According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017. About one-third of all injuries and illnesses resulted in days away from work.
Workplace-related injuries in the United States costs employers billions of dollars each year. In addition to the overall economic impact of workplace injuries, on-the-job accidents can have both a financial and psychological impact on those who are injured.
Common Workplace Injuries
Common workplace injuries include:
- Overexertion from lifting or lowering objects
- Slips, trips and falls
- Contact with objects and workplace equipment
According to the National Safety Council, the largest number of workplace injuries resulting in days away from work include the following occupation sectors:
- Service (police and firefighters)
- Transportation and shipping
- Manufacturing and production
- Installation, maintenance and repair
How are Workplace Injuries Prevented?
Most workplace injuries are preventable, and in most cases, employee safety is ultimately the responsibility of the employer. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a large number of injuries occur when employers fail to adhere to federal safety standards.
The most frequently cited standards violations include the failure to provide adequate fall protection systems, information concerning hazardous chemicals, respiratory protection, and eye and face protection.
Unfortunately, injuries are often prevented because safety procedures were put in place due to a previous injury. While your employer is responsible for maintaining a safe workplace environment, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take any necessary precautions to avoid accidental injury on the job.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured at Work?
If you are injured at work, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including wage replacement and medical benefits. Employees typically give up their right to file a lawsuit against their employer for negligence, and it is the responsibility of your employer to file a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf.
File an Accident Report and Report Injuries Immediately
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation, it is important that you report the accident and injury as soon as possible. Even if you don’t realize your injuries, or if your injuries aren’t noticeable at the time of the accident, you will need to file some type of workplace-related accident report to receive workers’ compensation for your injuries. If you do not discover your injury until later, let your employer know immediately.
Seek Medical Help
Seek medical help as soon as possible after a workplace-related accident. If you are seriously injured, you might need to go to the emergency room. If your injuries are not serious or life-threatening, see a doctor. Your employer might require you to visit a specific doctor, or you may be able to see your primary care physician if you choose.
Like many insurance claims, it is important that you keep a record of any and all documents associated with a workplace-related accident. Take notes when necessary and ask for copies of your medical records, especially if you are required to see a doctor chosen by your employer.
What Should I Do If My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
Workers’ compensation claims may be denied for a variety of reasons, including failure to follow proper procedures for filing a claim. In some cases, your employer or the insurance company may fight the claim for workers’ compensation.
If your claim is denied, you could file an appeal with the insurance company. Should the insurance company continue to deny your claim, you could potentially seek help from a state agency or an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation.