For most people, working in an office seems like a relatively safe job. There aren't a lot of hazardous materials or heavy equipment that can hurt someone, such as with a construction job. However, there are risks for just about every job, and there are many ways to get hurt in the office.
Workers' compensation laws exist in Pennsylvania to protect office employees and other workers who get injured while doing their jobs. Nearly every worker in the state is protected under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, says the state Department of Labor & Industry. This law helps to ensure injured workers' medical bills are covered if they're hurt on the job, and it is also meant to protect employers against litigation.
Even so, many workers are denied their compensation claims, or face retaliation by their employers. The Wall Street Journal says that although recorded injuries have fallen by 31 percent over the last decade, more employees are saying their employers have punished them for reporting their injuries.
Common Office Injury Risks
People who are injured at the office shouldn't hesitate to report their injury to their employers. Many office injuries can result in expensive medical bills or long-term pain and disability. Workers' compensation benefits can help to alleviate some of the hardship that a serious injury can cause.
According to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, there are numerous ways a person can get hurt in the office:
- Trips and falls over drawers, office equipment, wet floors, loose carpet and electrical cords.
- Getting hit by objects falling off shelves, or walking into office equipment or other people.
- Injuring the back, shoulders or neck by lifting office equipment.
- Repetitive movement disorders from using nonergonomic keyboards and other office equipment.
In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal disorders account for about a third of all job-related injuries reported every year, says Web MD. Office workers can protect themselves from these types of injuries by using ergonomic equipment and practicing good posture. Additionally, they can prevent falls and other injuries by making sure walkways are clear, drawers are closed, spills are cleaned up, objects are secured on shelves and office equipment is running safely. It can also help to practice safe lifting procedures or get someone's help when lifting something heavy.
Contacting An Attorney
The process of reporting an injury and applying for workers' compensation benefits can be daunting, especially if the claim is denied or an employer starts to make things difficult. If you've been injured at your office, it can help to speak with an attorney with experience in workers' compensation claims, who can discuss your rights with you and help you get the benefits you need.