Dealing with workplace injury is always stressful. It directly impacts both your wellbeing and your livelihood. You may feel nervous that you will miss out on a few days’ worth of wages while you recover. You may even feel unsafe in your workplace. Fortunately, legal recourse is available. In the state of Colorado, workers may be entitled to file for worker’s compensation benefits if they were injured in an accident on the job. This includes any injuries that happened while the worker was carrying out job duties or that happened during work hours.
More good news: Most workplace accidents are preventable. Workplace accidents are most successfully kept at bay when management and employees both work together to employ proper safety measures. Workers can also further empower themselves by educating themselves on prevention tactics—along with their legal rights and protections. How much do you know about workplace injury?
It probably comes as no surprise that certain occupational fields are more at risk for workplace accidents than others. In the state of Colorado, these jobs include construction workers, healthcare workers, hospitality and service workers, and truck drivers. These facts and figures come from a recent Pinnacol study on workplace injury in Colorado. The study examines the type, timing, and rate of workplace injuries in Colorado.
Furthermore, different occupations come with their own sets of risks. While Colorado construction workers tend to be more prone to back strain, healthcare workers are at heightened risk for picking up illnesses from patients. (Healthcare workers are even at risk from blows from patients.) Hospitality workers, moreover, are likely to cut their hands and fingers.
Professional and clerical workers are not totally in the clear, either. In fact, back strains tend to be the most reported workplace injury from office workers. Coming in second are slips on snow and ice. Workers in all fields also tend to be more vulnerable to injury during mid-day—perhaps due at least in part to what Jim McMillen, director of safety services at Pinnacol Assurance, calls “a dip in blood sugar.”
Still, the Pinnacol study has shown that all Colorado workers share some commonalities. Muscle strain, especially in the back, is the most common injury across all occupational fields. Harm to the eyes, fingers, hands, knees, and wrists are also common—especially among construction workers.
New workers also tend to be at the highest risk for workplace injury, no matter the occupational field. In fact, an estimated 44 percent of construction and natural resource worker’s compensation claims are filed by employees who are in their first year of the job. Additionally, 38 percent of first-year workers file worker’s compensation claims in the healthcare field. For professional and clerical workers, the number is 30 percent. Hospitality and service workers in their first six months on the job are also at a 35 percent higher risk of getting hurt than their colleagues.
According to McMillen, “Your newest workers are your most dangerous workers.” Therefore, he advises business owners to make certain their applicants can handle the physical demands of the job—before they even start working. And it should not stop there, either. Companies should ensure that they provide their new workers with adequate training and supervision. It may be a good idea to build up workers’ physical demands, so their bodies can adapt accordingly.
The employment rate in Colorado has been steadily increasing since 2012, but overall workplace injury claim costs have dropped 13 percent. So what can be done to reduce the rate of workplace injury even further? Many of the solutions are simple enough to take place at the individual level.
For example, let us refer back to the fact that most workplace accidents tend to happen in the middle of the day. As we have already established, this likely has to do with a dip in blood sugar. “Some workers,” elaborated McMillen, “are not hydrating properly and eating properly.” Here is a problem with a clear answer: Workers should make time to take care of themselves, and management should encourage it! It is important to remember to keep your well-being at the forefront. Never neglect taking breaks as needed. It is not only healthy—it is the law.
We have also already established that companies should ensure that all their new employees receive the proper training. They should also allow new workers’ bodies to “harden” to the conditions of the job.
Of course, it is also important to keep in mind basic safety procedures. Many times, these procedures are overlooked. This may be because they seem like common sense or simply irrelevant to the position. For example, office workers may engage in regular lifting throughout the day. Sometimes, bending at the knees is not enough to prevent injury. That is why management should be prepared too. Simply having carts and doilies on hand can prevent serious workplace injury.
As a worker, you are afforded certain legal rights and protections in the event you are ever injured on the job. One of these is the right to file a worker’s compensation claim. However, if you feel that your accident was a direct result of somebody else’s negligence or if your accident resulted in a grave injury, you may also want to consider filing a personal injury claim as well.
You should also never feel you need to hesitate before seeking out medical attention for your injuries. Depending on your specific case, you may be able to draw from a number of different benefits and compensation while waiting for your claim to be processed. These sources may include your own private health insurance, worker’s compensation benefits, and personal injury settlements.
If you or a loved one were recently injured in a workplace accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. You should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide worker’s compensation attorneys. We have helped countless clients resolve their cases successfully. We can help you, too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.