When we think of workers’ compensation, we often imagine high-risk jobs. For sure, construction workers can be hurt at any time on any day with even the smallest of accidents. However, we often forget that any activity comes with inherent risks. If sealed yourself in a hyperbolic chamber, free of any risks, you could still deteriorate from lack of movement.
Spending most of your day sitting behind a desk is much the same. This is the plight of the office worker. Moreover, office environments these days are filled with people rushing and bustling to meet deadlines. This carried risks of its own. Here are some common ways you could be injured, even in a relatively safe office environment.
Often, people take the safety of their office environment for granted. They don’t always look where they’re going, or they move too quickly between locations. We’ve already mentioned the bustling that sometimes goes along with office work. It’s not uncommon to see a coworker in a near sprint. Office spaces are not built for that kind of movement, and this activity could result in a severe injury.
Movement can result in impact injuries. People can slam into one another, oblivious of what’s happening around them. Someone can pop up out of their rolling chair too quickly, causing it to ram into an on-comer. People can bump into open file cabinets, or they can bump into one another in the coffee room. This could result in a burn injury on top of any impact injuries they sustained.
Impact injuries can cause bruises, sometimes deep ones. They can also cause tears in tendons or ligaments. A particularly hard impact can break a bone, and if someone hits their head, there could be serious repercussions. They could suffer anything from a concussion to a cracked skull and brain damage.
Even though office work often involves sitting, workers are often called upon to lift or move items. It seems like a simple request, but done incorrectly, lifting can cause injury. Even moving a heavy box of printing paper over to the copier can cause problems.
It’s easy to scoff at this fact, calling office workers weak. Remember, however, their training and their daily activity. Unlike warehouse workers, they are not accustomed to moving heavy loads daily. Furthermore, they are not wearing the same gear as a warehouse worker, gear that is designed to reduce tension during lifting.
Lifting items incorrectly can throw out someone’s back. People can tear muscles, dislocate joints, or even develop a hernia.
Slip and Fall Injuries
The sometimes fast-paced activity in an office can cause impact, and similarly, it can lead to a slip and fall. If aisles are cluttered, this is a serious liability. People can easily trip as they answer emails on their smartphones, landing hard on the other side. The break room can be particularly dangerous if someone isn’t careful. A simple, unattended coffee spill can lead to a lifelong injury.
Often, a slip-and-fall results in an impact injury as the person slams into the ground. Broken bones, torn muscles, and head injury can result. The way someone falls can also cause problems. People can sprain or strain muscles as they twist into the fall. If they are bent too far out of shape, bones can dislocate.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
These injuries are common among office workers. As we go through our days, no matter our jobs, we often execute the same moves over and over. No matter how safe or benign these motions may seem, they can wear your body down over time. The result is an MDS, musculoskeletal disorder.
MSDs cause pain in the joints and muscles. Sufferers can experience tingling and numbness in the affected areas. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common MSD suffered by office workers. Often, people who do a lot of typing can suffer this affliction.
Remaining seated for most of your day is a form of repetitive motion injury, too. By staying sedentary, your back is often compressed unaturally. This can cause problems with muscles in your back and even your spine. People can experience chronic pain in their muscles. Spine problems include herniated discs. This can become a serious problem. As a disc protrudes, it can rub or even pierce the nerves that run along the spine. At its least extreme, a herniated disc can cause severe, shooting pain, limited mobility. At its worst, a disc could sever a nerve, causing paralysis.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
Receiving your workers’ comp benefits can be difficult at the best times. It is an insurance benefit, after all. It’s no secret that insurance companies attempt to avoid paying if they can.
Receiving benefits is even harder if the company doesn’t believe you are entitled to them. If you are suddenly injured, such as in a slip and fall, it’s easy to demonstrate how you were injured at work. If you develop an MSD, on the other hand, the case is harder to make.
Whenever you need to apply for workers’ compensation, take your paperwork to a lawyer first. They can go over your application and help you correct any mistakes. Furthermore, they can help you appropriately phrase your claim. They know the language insurance companies are looking for and help you convince them of your legitimate need.
If you are denied, you will need legal representation to help you appeal this decision. Appeals operate like a courtroom trial. You can enter evidence, call in witnesses, and so forth. Legal representation will be a huge advantage, especially since the insurance company will be using its own legal teams as well.
For help with workers’ compensation issues, trust our firm to help. You can reach us for a consultation at (803) 938-4952 or online.