If you are injured in a hazardous work environment, you’ll have a lot of questions. Who is at fault? Who will pay my medical bills? Will I lose my job? It can be a scary and confusing time. The good news is, there are federal and state laws to ensure that employees have a safe workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. This agency helps ensure safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standard and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. According to OSHA, there are five types of workplace hazards.
- Safety Hazards. “Safety hazards encompass any type of substance, condition or object that can injure workers. In many types of workplaces they can include spills on floors, walkways blocked by cords or boxes, falls from heights, machinery with moving parts, confined spaces and electrical hazards such as frayed cords.”
- Chemical Hazards. “Workers can be exposed to chemicals in liquids, gases, vapors, fumes and particulate materials. Chemical hazards include acids, pesticides, carbon monoxide, flammable liquids, welding fumes, silica dust and fiberglass fibers.”
- Biological Hazards. “Employees who work with other people, with animals or with infectious materials can be exposed to biological hazards such as blood, fungi, mold, viruses and animal droppings.”
- Physical Hazards. “A physical hazard can injure workers with or without contact. These types of hazards include radiation, working in extreme heat or cold, spending hours under the sun or being constantly exposed to loud noise.”
- Ergonomic Hazards. “A physical hazard can injure workers with or without contact. These types of hazards include radiation, working in extreme heat or cold, spending hours under the sun or being constantly exposed to loud noise.”
What to Do If Injured at Work
Worker’s compensation insurance helps protect employers who are injured on the job from a work-related cause. If you are injured at work due to any of the above workplace hazards, you may be eligible to file a worker’s compensation claim. Follow the steps below to build a strong claim:
- File an Accident Report. Worker’s comp claims often have short deadlines to file, so remember to always file a report if there is an accident at work, whether or not you think you’ve been injured.
- Seek Medical Treatment. Always seek medical attention, whether the injury is large or small. You will want to create a medical history as soon as possible. Be aware that you may need to see a certain doctor per your employer, so make sure to ask first.
- Consult a Worker’s Compensation Attorney. Find out what your options are and make sure your employer is treating you fairly.