A workplace injury, also referred to as an occupational injury, is an injury to an employee that occurs in the workplace. In many instances, the injured worker is eligible for compensation, or also known as workers compensation.
Many times a third party is responsible-in whole or in part-for an occupational injury. It could be the manufacturer of a machine that causes the harm, the driver of another car, or the owner of the premises where an injury occurs. These types of cases can provide substantially greater benefits than the workers compensation claim will provide.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor recorded more than 3.5 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses occurring in private industry, with more than 1 million of those injured requiring time off from work. More than 5,000 fatal work-related injuries were reported in both the public and private sectors for the same year.
Workplace accidents can result in numerous ways: slips, trips, or falls in the workplace are common causes of injury. Less frequent, but more severe injuries, such as loss of limb, can occur in industries with exposure to heavy equipment. Jobs which require the use of dangerous chemicals can result in burns or respiratory problems.
There are also work-related musculoskeletal disorders, or “MSDs”, defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as “an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.”
Certain factors can cause or aggravate a work-related musculoskeletal disorders:
- lifting, pushing, or pulling of an object
- standing or sitting in an awkward posture
- forceful exertions
- exposure to extreme heat, cold, humidity, or vibration
Carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries are two common musculoskeletal disorder injuries. A musculoskeletal disorder injury results from the repetitive nature of the stress placed on the injured area. While the body’s exposure to the stress is too low for traumatic injury to occur, the repeated exposure to such stress can interfere with the body’s normal recovery process, eventually resulting in an MSD type injury.
If your or a loved one has suffered an injury at work, you should report the incident to your employer. You should also speak with an attorney who specializes in worker’s compensation and workplace injuries.