When workers’ compensation situations come to mind, many people immediately think of the obvious physical work-related injuries from slips and falls, falling from heights, struck or trapped by equipment and sprains and strains from lifting.
But there are other job hazards – those that hide in plain sight — that qualify workers for these much-needed benefits. These injuries may include hearing loss and injuries caused by work-related violence.
Sedentary work and workplace violence
Here are some of the hidden job hazards faced by some workers:
- Sedentary work assignments: Whether sitting while working at a computer or in manufacturing job, workers may be at higher risk of back problems, repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, high-blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer.
- Excessive noise: Noises that exceed 70 decibels during a prolonged period may lead to the beginning of hearing loss. These noises come from city traffic, gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, motorcycles, car horns and sporting events. Workers susceptible to prolonged excessive noise may include carpenters, construction workers, airlines ground crews, nightclub workers, truck drivers, teachers, firefighters, welders and motorcycle couriers.
- Stored energy: Equipment such as pressure washers, winches and hydraulic systems store energy. When that energy is unintentionally released if may cause injuries such as burns, contusions and abrasions.
- Violence in the workplace: Serious injuries can occur from an attack in the workplace caused by an unhinged coworker, outraged customer or unstable patient. Jobs that face a higher risk of these situations include health care workers, workers who handle money, delivery drivers, public service workers and law enforcement officers.
- Emotional trauma: You may qualify for workers’ compensation in scenarios that include a difficult work environment with abnormal conditions such as excessive bullying, harassment and discrimination. This can lead to mental anguish, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which may prevent you from doing your job. However, stress and anxiety likely will not qualify you for these benefits.
Understand that workplace hazards surface in unexpected ways. Protect yourself.
You have legal options
A workplace injury can surface in an assortment of ways. If you have experienced any such injury, it is time to advocate for yourself because you have legal options.