A multitude of people in Pennsylvania and other states suffer workplace injuries or illnesses every year. Fortunately, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance that helps injured workers cope with the financial consequences of occupational injuries and diseases. This is a no-fault system, meaning that you will be eligible for compensation regardless of who caused your injury.
Workers compensation typically covers all medical expenses, including the cost to travel to hospitals and doctors. If your injury prevents you from returning to work, you will receive a percentage of lost wages, and you may even get vocational rehabilitation to teach you new skills if you can no longer do your previous job.
Biggest injury threats to the American workforce
Safety authorities say most workplace injuries are preventable. However, despite extensive guidelines and safety regulations prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, noncompliance continues to lead to the following five most frequently cited causes for on-the-job injuries:
- Slips and trips — Having to navigate slippery floors, damaged walkways, out-of-place objects or debris can cause you to fall. Muscle strains, sprains, bone fractures and more can result, and these incidents can happen in almost any industry.
- Materials handling — Whatever your occupation, you will likely have to push, pull, lift, lower and carry objects on a regular basis. Soft tissue injuries are the typical results of these tasks, and they can sometimes be debilitating.
- Vehicle accidents — A significant number of employees die in auto accidents every year, and commercial truckers are extremely vulnerable to these incidents. Anytime driving is linked to your job, you will be eligible for compensation if an accident causes injuries.
- Electrical hazards — While electricians are likely those most at risk of electrical shocks, anybody can be vulnerable. Exposed circuits, water near electrical outlets and other hazards can even cause fatalities.
- Equipment errors — Any industry in which you have to work with complex machines will present risks related to their operation. Never operate a machine without first receiving proper training, and insist on appropriate personal protective equipment. All electrical and mechanical equipment must have the necessary safeguards and lockout/tag-out devices to prevent accidental activation.
Although your employer is responsible for your health and safety at work, you may benefit from looking out for yourself. However, in the event of an injury that results from an on-the-job accident, report it to your supervisor as soon as possible to get the claims process started. Leaving it too long may jeopardize your chances of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Legal counsel is available to guide you through the administrative and legal steps of the claims process.