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  6.  | What Are The Most Common Workplace Injuries?

What Are Common Workplace Injuries?

Workplace injuries occur from the corner offices of executives to the factory floor where workers are using powerful tools in tight quarters. Someone who has been hurt on the job needs to know that they are covered for their injuries.

The experienced lawyers at AlpernSchubert, P.C., in Pittsburgh, have assisted injured workers in protecting their rights and representing their best interests since 2006. We help injury victims with the paperwork and determine the benefits they are entitled to. We are also well equipped to help our clients fight for their rights.

What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover

The list below does not show every possible workplace injury, but it gives workers an idea of what is covered under workers’ compensation insurance or a related lawsuit.

Construction accidents: This includes electrical, crane, forklift, and scaffolding accidents; welding accidents; trench collapses; and other related accidents. Construction workers may be struck by falling objects, or they may be crushed or stuck between two large objects. Construction workers, subcontractors, independent contractors, and others may be involved. Construction sites also include vehicles that may be involved in what would otherwise be labeled as a traditional vehicle accident.

Factory/warehouse accidents: This includes trips or slips, defective equipment accidents, heavy machinery accidents, forklift accidents, conveyor belt accidents, injuries caused by improper or faulty protective gear, heavy lifting injuries, and other incidents. Factories and warehouses have trucks or vehicles entering and exiting the premises every day. These facilities may be the place where accidents occur, and even more, accidents might occur as workers load and unload vehicles.

Fatal work accidents: Common causes of workplace fatalities include falls from heights, vehicle accidents, electrocutions, being hit by falling or moving objects, nonroad vehicle rollovers, being trapped by moving machinery and workplace violence. In short, an accident that may have resulted in a personal injury claim can be covered under a wrongful death claim or result in the payment of death benefits through workers’ compensation.

Industrial accidents: This often includes repetitive strain injuries, chemical exposure, air embolisms, decompression sickness and other related injuries. Chemical exposure may not be discovered until long after the worker leaves the company or the industry. Repetitive strain injuries are often more severe than people think, and overlooked issues such as air embolisms and oil injections can be fatal. Air embolisms can be caused when compressed air penetrates the skin, blocking blood vessels. The same is true of oil injections that can penetrate the skin and cause symptoms similar to a stroke.

Motor vehicle accidents: Commercial truck drivers, delivery drivers and others in the transportation industry are at high risk of being injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident. Drivers could be hurt during accidents on the roadway, or they might be injured when loading or unloading their vehicles. The driver may experience toxic exposure as a result of the loads they are carrying, or they might be injured when performing administrative tasks inside a factory or warehouse.

Occupational disease: This includes respiratory disorders, such as occupational asthma or pneumoconiosis; phossy jaw; hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS); neurological disorders, such as peripheral polyneuropathy; cancer, including mesothelioma; heart disease; hepatitis; and stress-related illnesses. These diseases range in severity from occupational asthma that requires a rescue inhaler and other treatments to neuropathy that causes nerves to tingle, muscles to weaken, and a lack of coordination.

Heart disease can reduce the victim’s quality of life, and pneumoconiosis may cause fibrosis of the lungs. Phossy jaw occurs when workers are continually exposed to white phosphorus, causing necrosis of the bone, and HAVS occurs in those who use vibrating tools such as jackhammers. Cancers may be caused by exposure to a range of substances. For example, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, which has long been a topic of conversation in the personal injury and workers’ compensation areas. Black lung is caused by the inhalation of coal dust in coal mines. Chronic beryllium disease is caused by prolonged exposure to beryllium dust during the production of electronics and nuclear power equipment. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is due to exposure to smoke and toxic fumes in a factory or refinery setting. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and fatigue should be treated by a doctor.

Anyone who believes they have been affected by an occupational illness should report their illness, seek treatment, and contact a lawyer if necessary. Additionally, preexisting conditions that are worsened by the employee’s job are also compensable. For example, someone with mild to moderate asthma could develop much more severe symptoms as a result of their exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances.

Machine accidents: Injuries from machine accidents include cuts, burns, amputations, degloving injuries, broken bones, eye injuries, crushing injuries, and other injuries. Workers who are using powerful machines should be trained properly, use the appropriate protective gear, and work with partners to reduce the risk of injury.

Office injuries: These may include pain related to lifting heavy objects, injuries from flying or stationary objects, and musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Something as simple as a trip and fall across a carpeted room is compensable. Although the employee got up and went back to work, that nagging knee pain they feel later in the day may be related to their accident. Someone who stares at a screen all day may have damaged their vision. Employees who experience an electrical shock or are injured by computer or server parts should report their injuries, and someone who falls from a stepladder while hanging a banner outside the office should be covered under workers’ compensation.

Slip-and-fall accidents: These injuries may be due to poor lighting, uneven floor surfaces, poor housekeeping, faulty cabling, inadequate floor coverings, wet floors, changes in levels, faulty scaffolding, and other unsafe conditions. Although these injuries most often affect full-time employees, a consultant who is visiting the office for the first time could slip on an unmarked wet floor, sustain a head injury and require medical attention along with wage loss benefits.

Toxic exposure: Depending on the workplace, workers can be exposed to dangerous toxins such as arsenic, asbestos, benzene, beryllium, ammonia, chloroform, zinc, lead, iodine, mercury, formaldehyde, silica, uranium, and other toxic substances. Each substance can cause a range of complications or symptoms. Workers should take the time to report their symptoms and go to the doctor as soon as possible.

Call AlpernSchubert, P.C., To Discuss Your Case

Injured workers should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to receive assistance with claims related to these injuries.

Our dedicated attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience helping clients recover financial compensation. Call our Pittsburgh office at 412-506-9561 or fill out our online contact form to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients across western Pennsylvania.