In 2019 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 2.8 workplace injuries per 100 full-time workers in the United States. In other words, over four million Americans suffered a workplace injury in 2019! This fact alone is a reason to read a guide on how to address this situation.
What Is a Workplace Injury?
A workplace injury is an injury sustained in the course of gainful employment. This means any accident that causes an injury while within work premises or when attending to your job outside of the office. Any illness caused by your workplace’s environment would also be covered here.
What Are The Most Common Workplace Injuries, And How Do They Occur?
According to the BLS, the most common workplace injuries include sprains, muscle tears, cuts or puncture wounds, and even fractures. These are some of the most common ways these accidents occur:
- Slips, trips, and falls (27 incidents per 10,000 workers)
- Accidents involving equipment or other workplace objects (24 incidents per 10,000 workers)
- Transportation-related injuries (around seven incidents per 10,000 workers)
While these are three of the most common scenarios, there are, of course, many other ways in which workplace injuries can be sustained.
Where Do These Injuries Occur Most Frequently?
If you work in the healthcare sector, a retail store, manufacturing, or construction industries, you are among the most likely to suffer an accident at work. Surprisingly, the arts and entertainment industry appears at number 11 on the list of most non-fatal work-related injuries in 2019! No workplace is entirely risk-free, not even a standard cubicle office!
What To Do If You’ve Suffered An Injury At Work
If you’re injured at work, you’ll almost certainly be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits to take away the financial burdens previously mentioned. There are simple steps you should take to follow the workers compensation process in North Carolina properly. As you’ll see below, there is a straightforward procedure.
1. Inform Your Supervisor
First thing’s first – you’ll need to report the incident to your supervisor, line manager, or manager. This needs to be done as soon as possible both verbally and in writing. Writing everything down ensures the information is recorded correctly.
2. File An Accident Report
Your company will most likely have incident reporting systems in place, so make sure you follow these properly. This may involve sitting down with someone from human resources or management to discuss and write out the details of the situation. In North Carolina, there is also a “Form 18,” which your lawyer will help you file (see step 4).
3. Seek Medical Help
In some cases, your injury may be so severe that you are sent to the Emergency Room immediately, in which case you will, of course, receive the required treatment. If you do not have an injury that seems so urgent, you should still seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your physician will be able to check for any minor or long-lasting damage done to make sure you are either fit and well or claiming for the correct damage. Make sure you save all medical bills and receipts during this time!
4. See Your Lawyer
Finally, make sure you speak to a specialist worker’s compensation attorney. Take all the above information to them, and they will ensure you are covered for your injuries, any loss of earnings, money spent on medical, or any lasting effects you may have moving forward. In case there is a dispute, you’ll want a lawyer experienced in this field on your side.
Knock-On Effects After An Accident At Work
Well, first thing’s first – the injury! You may suffer long term pain after a sprain, a fall, or a broken bone. This could then lead to time off work – in 2018, 70,000,000 working days were lost due to a workplace injury – or leave you unable to complete regular daily tasks. You may require hospital treatment, regular medication, stress management, or simply be unable to ever return to your workplace.
How Much Would A Workplace Injury Cost You?
This depends massively on your salary, industry, and injury sustained. If you do not follow the steps below, you could face the cost of medical bills, loss of workdays and/or long term unemployment. For example, the average cost of non-surgical treatment for a broken arm in North Carolina is around $2,500. Compound this with 4-6 weeks loss of earnings, and the numbers could get quite scary.
A workplace injury and all that follows from it can cause distress, worry, and panic. Your livelihood and your health might be in question. Make sure you look after your injuries and follow the steps above to alleviate the stress, and you’ll be healthy, happy, and back at work in no time!