From heavy machinery hazards to poor ergonomics, workplace injuries affect an estimated three million Americans annually. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 to regulate workplace standards and advocate for safe and healthy environments for workers of all fields. Part of their mission is to provide “training, outreach, education and assistance” to both employers and employees alike. With an average of 4,500 workplace fatalities occurring every year, it is vital for all employees to be aware of steps they can take to reduce workplace injury risk. This may involve the design of a more ergonomically efficient desk area, or bringing worn or broken equipment to an employer’s attention. Ultimately, employers are responsible for creating a safe, hazard-free work culture. However, education and awareness on everyone’s part can dramatically reduce risk.
As the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims, overexertion injuries result in approximately $3 million in annual benefit payments. Consistently lifting, pulling, or carrying heavy objects, and typing or working in an awkward position, can trigger muscle strain or soft tissue damage. These injuries are often acute, but usually heal with treatment. They may, however, become chronic if not treated properly or in a timely manner. Prevention measures include the following:
- Lift lighter loads.
- When lifting heavy objects to or from a shelf above you, use a step ladder or other secure object to decrease the distance.
- Be aware of your posture.
- Take frequent breaks and stretch continually.
- Engage in strength training.
- Know your limits.
In the industrial and construction industries, falls from high scaffolding, ladders, and roofs can cause serious injuries or death. However, simple falls may just as easily occur while changing a light bulb or tripping on a frayed carpet. In construction, employers should help minimize these catastrophic situations by providing proper and consistent training. As an employee, utilizing personal protection gear and maintaining a high level of awareness is the best defense against injury. In less physically-oriented settings like offices, awareness is still a key factor in staying safe. As Massachusetts workers compensation lawyers we see all types of fall injuries, from the simple slippery floor in the office to the catastrophic fall in at a construction site. With over 50 years of experience in handling workers compensation claims we know how to maximize your benefits and make sure payments are coming on a timely basis.
Thermal, Electrical, and Chemical Burns
Often one of the most painful and debilitating workplace injuries, burns most commonly affect workers in the restaurant and construction industries, laboratory workers, welders, mechanics, and electricians. OSHA reports that approximately 200 fatalities and over 5,000 injuries are due to thermal burns caused by workplace fires every year. The two other common workplace burn categories are electrical and chemical, each harming the body in different ways. Education is, again, the best way to lessen the effects of burns. If you are regularly exposed to chemicals, it is important to understand what they are. Know what substances make the best antidotes, and be sure to have them available in case of emergency. If you work regularly with potential electrical hazards, understand the current flow and voltage you are working with. Diligence and awareness are crucial when dealing with live electrical wiring.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Massachusetts’s Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
Masachusetts workplace injuries can result in life-altering medical problems. Some of these conditions may negatively impact your ability to make a living in your known profession. Your entire family can be emotionally and financially affected as medical expenses rise and income decreases, or disappears entirely. Altman & Altman, LLP has been representing clients in Massachusetts for over four decades. Every client is unique and deserves an individualized strategy. However, at Altman & Altman, LLP, we believe that the choices are ultimately yours and that our job is to help you make an educated and informed decision. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.