Work accident, workplace accident, or occupational accident is any mental or physical harm due to uncontrolled events. Workplace accident also results in damages to properties. it can be extremely dangerous to people and have huge damage to companies financially.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), each year there are at least 337 million accidents happening and 2.3 million deaths happen annually due to work-related accidents.
Common Causes Of Workplace Accidents
As much precaution implemented at work, accidents can still happen. It can arise from human error, the simple task of following instructions and unsafe work habits. Another important factor is a management’s implementation of safety precautions. Faulty equipment also causes serious personal injuries.
Here is the list of the common causes of workplace accident:
One of the flaws of humans is the act of being lazy. As a matter of fact, we think of shorter ways to get an immediate result, which is good. On the negative side, when working around dangerous types of machinery, it is wise to do it the longer and safer way. As the saying goes, “it is better safe than never”.
Construction works have more danger in terms of work environment. Sometimes we cannot avoid miscalculations due to working longer hours which happens all the time. Over confidence is not an ideal habit since accidents cannot be forecasted. By thinking that it will not happen, you are leading your life to disaster.
Poor, or Lack of Housekeeping
A good management keeps its employees safe and away from accidents. A clean and well-managed workplace lessens the chances of an accident. As a matter of fact, a well-communicated memo of safety reminders is one of the best precautions. Lastly, having well-placed signage for dangers, standard procedures or other precaution must be put up.
Starting a task with lack of necessary information
This is very logical and a basic work instinct. Do not start a task without reading instructions and knowing proper procedures. A step not properly done especially on constructions can lead to a huge accident. When you are in doubt or not sure what to do, ask your boss or other’s advice.
Not following the Safety Procedure
The worst thing that a worker can do is this. Neglecting safety gears and procedures. A simple act of not wearing proper gear or disregarding safety reminder is a loud calling for an accident. These gears, signage, reminders, and memo are our key to avoid accidents and injuries and is not just for design to look at.
Most Common Injuries resulting from Workplace Accident
All workplace accident results in property damages, injuries and worst death. According to statistics, in the U.S. last 2010, over 4,500 American workers died in a workplace accident. Not to mention that year in the U.S. a number of 3.3 million workers suffer from permanent injury. Given the accounts, here are the common injuries resulting from workplace accident:
- Overexertion Injuries, this injury is due to pulling, lifting, pushing, or activities that need a lot of force. The annual benefit cost of this type of injury is $3.4 million and is the most expensive according to accounting.
- Slipping/Tripping can be dangerous and deadly not just in the workplace. It is important that we pay attention to our surrounding, especially in bad weather condition.
- Falling from heights mostly happens in elevated areas such as stairs or building constructions. That is why employees must diligently take extra precaution while working on elevated areas. Use proper protection gears and equipment.
- Falling object injuries are one of the most dangerous injuries that can happen in a workplace. Trauma like head injuries is the common result. Even with protective gear, this accident causes serious injuries. The key for this accident is to keep the environment free from hazard.
- Vehicle accidents. Although vehicle accident is an off-site accident from work this is also considered. As we all know, vehicle accident can be fatal especially for those that drive trucks or heavy equipment. That is why companies implement safe-driver training and have policies to reduce accidents.
- Machine Entanglement injury happens mostly in factories or workplace that uses heavy types of machinery. Common reports are a part of a body like a finger or hair getting stuck in the machine. This can cause serious injuries that is why employees must have proper protective equipment and safety rules.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries is a type of injury that affects us in the long run. A good example is using computer 24/7 which causes back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- On the job Violent Acts is caused by office politics and other arguments that lead to serious physical injuries. Any suspicious activities must be reported to the management to avoid this incident.
As much safety memo or precautionary instructions or signage has put the management, it is still best to be attentive. Prevention is better than cure so start with following precautions diligently.
Compensation for Damages
The first process towards receiving compensation is to immediately inform your supervisor. As well as make sure to keep copies of all the records of the accidents. In some States, they prefer written report while some allow verbal notice. That being said, it is safer to report it in writing immediately. Filing workplace accident immediately is crucial to receive compensation benefits from the employer.
Moreover, filing a workers’ compensation is a request for the benefit and not a lawsuit against the employer. As said above you need to notify your employer immediately.
However, the employer has no obligation to provide benefits unless the claim is completed. When your employer finished filing for the claim, the insurance company generally has 14 days to mail you the status of the claim. Call the insurance company if you were not able to receive the letter.
On the contrary, when an employer does not have workers’ compensation, contact an attorney as soon as possible. It is also advised to call your State’s labor department or workers compensation office first. Your state has a fund out of which they can pay for your compensation benefit as a worker.
In addition, you can sue for negligence against your employer if they do not carry workers compensation insurance.
Lastly, if you are covered by FECA (Federal Employee) you can request an oral hearing or a review of the written record if you are not happy with the outcome of the claim.
Along with the further support of oral or written evidence, you can request for reconsideration of a decision. A hearing may not be granted if the accompanying evidence is not newly added supporting evidence. State law will apply to in case you are not covered by FECA.
You may also request a review by ECAB (Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board by which they do not ask for additional evidence. Once the final ruling of ECAB is made, further court outlets cannot overturn it.
Know Your Rights and Compensation Benefits
In conclusion, to avoid the long ordeal, it is best to start investing in following precautions. Which includes: reading hazard signage, diligence on following guidelines and precautions. Lastly, protect yourself from possible minor accident through wearing protective gear or protective equipment.
Most of all, know your rights to workers’ compensation benefits and your right to claim it. Do not be afraid to ask state officials if your employer does not carry this benefit.