Common Workplace Accidents
There are a variety of unexpected events that can occur at work. A birthday party or promotion might top the list of some of the more pleasant surprises. But one of the least expected and certainly the most hated surprises on the job are workplace accidents.
Having an accident at work is especially painful, not just because it can lead to a severe injury, but also because of the consequences it can have on the workers’ ability to earn a living. It can also lead to more serious problems later on.
For example, some of the highest numbers of workplace accidents occur in the construction industry. But tremendous pressure to keep costs down and projects completed on time means an injured construction worker may be pressured to continue working through a painful injury. In order to do this, they might start taking opioid painkillers.
Maybe the construction worker has a prescription for these pain medications or perhaps they obtain them illegally off the street. Either way, this individual is now at risk for suffering from an overdose, creating an addiction or causing another accident because they are under influence of prescription strength painkillers.
It’s easy to see how problematic accidents in the workplace can be, even in a state as progressive as Massachusetts. Luckily, workplace accidents only led to approximately 74 deaths in 2017. Should a worker be unfortunate enough to suffer from an accident at work, the employer will often do the right thing and ensure the worker receives any necessary medical care and compensation. But this doesn’t always happen. And sometimes, the employer is responsible for the accident occurring in the first place.
Types of Workplace Accidents
If there is the potential for a work-related accident, then it’s probably happened, at least once. However, some accidents tend to occur more often than others. Below is a list of some of the more common types of accidents seen in Massachusetts.
- Slip and fall
- Falls from a raised elevation (like a fall from a ladder or rooftop)
- Motor vehicle accident
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Building or structural collapse
- Falling objects
The Causes of Common Workplace Accidents
An accident that takes place at work can have any number of causes, many of which are the result of someone not paying attention. Most workplace accidents are usually caused by one or more of the following:
- Carelessness or negligence
- Intentional misconduct, such as horseplay or bullying
- Repetitive physical motion
- Failure to following safety rules or regulations
- Nonexistent safety rules or regulations
- Lifting or moving a large or heavy object
- Malfunction of equipment or tools
- Improper use of equipment or tools
- Failure of safety mechanisms
- Bad weather
What a Worker Should Do to Prevent an Accident at Work
When it comes to accidents that take place at work, the good news is that the majority of them are preventable. But the bad news is also that the majority of them are preventable. The trick is being able to anticipate the potential for an accident and being willing to take steps to prevent it.
While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent all workplace accidents, there are several things workers can do to reduce their chance of getting involved in an accident, such as:
- Following all safety rules and regulations
- Reporting a violation of a safety rule or regulation
- Identifying instances of where the modification or creation of a safety rule can address a specific risk at work
- Staying healthy; being in poor health has the potential of making a worker more likely to become involved in an accident
- Being knowledgeable about workplace safety; workers who don’t know the safety rules are not likely to follow them
What a Worker Can Do if Involved in a Workplace Accident
Should a worker be unlucky enough to have an accident at work, there are a few things they should promptly do. First, they need to report it to the employer. This will be necessary when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Ideally, the worker should report the accident in writing. Not only will it make it harder for an employer to potentially argue they never knew about the accident, but it will allow the worker to record details about the accident while the memories are still fresh.
Second, if the accident causes an injury, the worker should get medical help. This is important, not just because the worker should treat the injury, but any delay could hinder the worker’s ability to seek compensation at a later time.
Third, the worker should file a worker’s compensation claim. This is usually the only remedy available for the worker and will allow them to receive payments for lost wages and medical bills.
Fourth, consult with an attorney. Most likely, the worker won’t need legal representation as a result of the accident, but it’s a possibility. There may be other responsible parties involved or complications with the workers’ compensation claim. For most workers, this initial consultation will be free. In many cases, the insurer has to pay most of the workers’ legal fees and expenses.
Speak With A Workplace Accidents Lawyer
If you’ve been in an accident at work, it might be a good idea to speak with an attorney. A brief consultation can confirm what your legal rights are and if your employer is doing everything it can to help you and prevent the accident from happening again.