We’ve got a lot of hard-working people in Georgia, people who go to their jobs every day, giving their best effort to do good work and support their families. Unfortunately, many of these workers fall victim to injuries in the workplace and find themselves struggling to provide financial security for their loved ones because of an accident that happened on the job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 105,000 occupational injuries or illnesses in the state of Georgia in 2014. Of these, 148 were fatal injuries. In fact, the number of work-related fatalities in Georgia rose by 31 over the year before. Fatal occupational injuries in the state have ranged from a high of 249 in 1994 to a low of 101 in 2012. According to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program, a total of 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2014 nationwide.
Workplace injuries can affect the employee’s physical and mental health, in the short term and possibly for life — and family members are often impacted by the changes as well. Due to these detrimental and potentially long lasting effects, the law states that workers are entitled to receive proper compensation for their injuries.
There are many, many types of jobs; and, as you can imagine, the injuries that can happen on the job are almost innumerable. Statistics show, however, that occupational injuries can be grouped into certain typical types, such as the ones shown below.
- Overexertion –injuries related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing
- Fall on Same Level – such as on a wet, slippery floors
- Fall to Lower Level –from an elevated area, such as a roof, ladder, or stairway
- Bodily Reaction – from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling
- Struck by Object – being hit by something that fell, like an item off a shelf or a tool dropped by another worker
- Struck against an Object – caused by running into objects such as walls, doors, cabinets, glass windows, table, chairs, etc.
- Highway Incident – collisions involving cars and trucks used for business purposes
- Caught In/ Compressed By – where large and dangerous machinery is used, typically in factories and where safety measures are ignored
- Repetitive Motion –strained muscles and tendons, causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome, from repeating the same motions over a period of time as in using a keyboard or on the assembly line
- Assaults and Violent Acts – robberies, homicides and attacks perpetrated against employees in high-risk occupations or locations
There are many laws and regulations which require employers to take steps to mitigate the risk of injury to employees, such as carefully planning the location of the equipment, shelving, tables and chairs and other elements of the workplace; placing warning signs in hazardous areas or around dangerous equipment; and using engineering control systems to minimize awkward positions, strenuous handling, and repetitive motion problems.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the 10 most common citations for safety violations involve:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Electrical, wiring methods
- Powered industrial trucks
- Electrical, general requirements
- Machine guarding.
Both to protect your health and to protect your chance of receiving fair compensation after a workplace accident, if you are injured on the job you should take the following steps:
- See a doctor without delay.
Your employer is required to provide a list of doctors you may select from. But if your injuries are serious and you need emergency care, you can go to any licensed doctor. To make a claim for workers’ comp benefits, you will need to show that the injuries were work-related.
- Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible.
Make a written report of the accident and injury to the appropriate authority at your place of business. This must be done within 30 days after the accident or the doctor’s diagnosis in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation. Even if you don’t think the injury was serious, it is best to file a report.
- Document your time away from work.
Keep a record of the time you have to miss because of the injury. You may be eligible for temporary or permanent disability or for benefits that make up for your having to take a lower-paying job.
- Follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
In other words, do what the doctor tells you to do. If you are dissatisfied with the proposed plan, you may seek a second opinion.
- Contact an attorney experienced in Georgia workplace accidents and workers’ compensation.
At the Mann Law Firm, we are concerned about the rights of injured workers and the futures of their families. Our Georgia workers’ compensation clients know that David Mann is straightforward, honest and knowledgeable and that he will strive to obtain the maximum recovery to which they are entitled under the law. When new clients contact our office with a workplace injury, we immediately take action to ensure that their claims are properly filed. It is a very important part of our job to listen carefully to our clients and provide them with guidance that will result in a successful recovery. We routinely handle a wide range of catastrophic injuries, and we can help you understand your rights and the workers’ compensation benefits available to you. For competent and compassionate representation, contact the Mann Law Firm at (478) 742-3381.