When you go to work, you never think about getting an injury. All you think about is getting the job done, the best way possible. However, work-related injuries can happen anytime. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 5,147 fatal work injuries in the country in 2017. While the numbers slightly decreased from the 2016 figures, it is still a lot. Most of the injuries were fatal falls. Other causes of death include transportation incidents and work-related violence. In 2017, the number of employer-reported non-fatal workplace injuries totaled 2.8 million, lower than the 2016 figures.
Why Is Workplace Injury Increasing?
Most of the workplace injuries reported may result from a lack of correct safety measures in the workplace. As businesses grow, the focus shifts from basic safety towards profit-making activities. There is neglect for the people working to create a profit for the company. Most of the time, problems arise because supervisors lack the proper knowledge to implement safety measures. Additionally, there is little importance given to safety training. Many employees are bogged down with too much work that they no longer take safety standards seriously. For instance, in the data released by the Department of Labor, most of the fatal injuries commonly seen in the workplace resulted from:
- Accidental overdose due to drugs or alcohol while at the workplace
- Equipment incidents such as machinery deaths and running machinery
Work-related injuries may cause panic in the workplace; nonetheless, here are the things that you must do to help protect your rights as an employee:
Get Immediate Care
The most important thing that you must do is to get care as soon as possible. In case of an emergency, any healthcare provider can treat you. However, if the injury is not too severe or does not warrant emergency care, your treatment should come from authorized providers. After receiving first aid, seek medical attention the same day of the accident. Keep records of your hospital visits so you can claim payments for the medical expenses you incurred due to the injury.
File an Accident Report
As soon as you have had your injuries treated, you must file an accident report. Take note of the deadline for filing. For Washington state, the claim application must be within one year of your injury date. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries must receive it within two years. In some states, injured workers must report the incident to their immediate supervisor within 30 days after the date of the injury. Failure to do so may disqualify you for claiming any compensation benefits. Recklaw.com states that documentation should be an essential part of your report. Check for any witnesses of the event. If possible, get their names and contact numbers, as you could need them later on when you process your claim. Note that employers will also need to present documentation. Simply documenting is not enough. Before you and your supervisor part ways, make sure to have them sign all paperwork. It is better to be safe than to be sorry later on. Also, if there was an incident, inform your employer or supervisor right away even if you are not injured or if you believe you are not injured. Some employees only realize their injuries after a few days. Even if you do not see any physical signs of trauma, file an accident or incident report anyway. It is also essential to include all necessary paperwork when you got the initial treatment. This paperwork will serve as proof that such an incident occurred during work hours.
Understand Your Legal Rights
Often employees who suffer from work-related injuries are clueless on the process of claiming their benefits. Only a few consult an experienced lawyer to help them understand their legal rights. Employers may often be unclear regarding the information that they provide you. An attorney who has an extensive legal background in worker’s compensation cases can give you a clearer picture of your rights. This legal help will also rid you of additional stress that may arise with the claims process while you are recovering from your injuries.
See a Chiropractor
Simple injuries may require the expertise of a chiropractor. When choosing a chiropractor, make sure to go with the one with the most reliable track record. You may also want to check if your insurance will cover them.
Work-related injuries are often difficult to prevent. When this happens, the best thing that you can do is to protect yourself legally. When you know what to do, you ensure that you can receive the proper compensation that you deserve. Accidents can have a severe impact, not only on your physical health but also on your mental health. You may be feeling stressed out and frustrated most of the time. Remember that this will not help your healing process in any way. If you can, find an activity that will allow you to release all that stress.