Workplace injuries happen frequently. Some are relatively minor and do not cause long-term health problems. Other accidents can result in serious injury or death. Employees who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits which include medical treatment, compensation for lost wages, permanent disability, and death benefits. South Carolina law covers almost all workers, even part-time employees, if they work for an employer with four or more employees. The following are some of the most common types of workers’ compensation accidents and injuries.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
These are some of the most common reasons for filing a workers’ compensation claim and are all related. Slips are usually due to an issue with the floors. They may be wet or oily from spills. Outside walkways may be wet due to rain, snow, or ice that has not been cleared. Indoor trip hazards include clutter, electrical cords and cables, uneven flooring, ridges in carpeting, and unsecured throw rugs or mats. Outside trip hazards include uneven sidewalks and pot holes in the parking lot. Poor lighting is a safety hazard that increases the risk of trip and fall accidents.
Slipping and tripping accidents can result in a fall with serious injuries. Falls can also occur when workers go up or down a flight of stairs. Some condition on the stairs or in the stairwell is often a factor. There may be worn carpeting, highly-polished wood treads, or poor lighting. Outside stairs may become slippery due to rain, snow, and ice. Loose or missing handrails can also be a problem.
Construction workers are at risk from falling off ladders, a roof, or scaffolding. According to the National Safety Council, their risk is seven times the rate of other industries. Bracing for a fall can cause injury as well as the impact itself. Serious medical issues following slips, trips, and falls may involve sprains, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Lifting accidents account for many workplace injuries. Someone may try to lift an object that is too heavy or has an unwieldy shape or size. This can create an awkward posture while lifting. Sometimes a lifting injury doesn’t become noticeable until later. Lifting injuries often occur to the back, shoulders, elbows, and knees. Injuries also happen when an object being lifted is accidentally dropped on the foot or toes.
Cumulative or Repetitive Task Trauma
These injuries result from performing certain repetitive tasks over a long period of time. The worker may be performing manual labor, carpentry, manual handling tasks, or typing and the use of a mouse. There may be gradual damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves. Examples of these injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tendonitis, and trigger finger.
First Steps When Injured
Report all injuries to your supervisor. South Carolina law allows for 90 days to do this. Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Your employer or their insurance company will choose the doctor. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the benefits to which you are entitled. If you need help navigating the workers’ compensation system, contact attorney Venus Poe for a free consultation.