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Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. This statistic has not changed since 2018. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor that oversees that workplaces are safe and meet specific requirements of safety standards. Since 1970, OSHA has been implementing protective measures to ensure the safety of workers. OSHA considers an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure that caused or contributed to a pre-existing or new condition occurred in the workplace.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines occupational injuries as any wounds or damage to the body that results from an event in the work environment. Common injuries that can occur at work include slips, trips, falls, muscle strains, and incorrect handling of equipment. A scenario of an occupational injury at work can include a worker who trips over an abandoned piece of machinery and receives a broken arm as a result of the fall. In this example, the abandoned machine has the potential to cause more injuries to other workers. Therefore, it is important that the workplace is a regulated and protected place for employees to work safely and effectively. It is possible to apply for Workers’ Compensation as a result of a workplace injury; however, it is not guaranteed that every claim will be accepted to receive benefits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines an occupational illness as any abnormal condition or disorder that results from a non-instantaneous event or exposure in the work environment. Occupational illnesses can be characterized into multiple categories, including respiratory conditions, poisoning, hearing loss, and skin diseases or disorders. Other examples can include heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, and other certain diseases. Recently, COVID-19 has also been included to the list of occupational illnesses as a result of workers reporting that they received COVID-19 at the workplace.

When filing for a case concerning occupational injuries or illnesses, it is important to list essential information that will help their case to be accepted. Explaining the diagnosis will be beneficial to determine if the injury or illness is applicable to receive benefits. Also, listing specific information about the injury or illness will help to determine which part of the body is affected. If the injury or illness causes a disabling condition or impairment, applicable workers may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. When completing an application, one should describe the exact source or potential causes of the condition. OSHA and the company may be able to examine potential causes, such as equipment, machines, and objects, that may be unsafe to other workers in order to protect safe workplace conditions. As a result, the event in which the injury or illness occurs provides specific information regarding the case. In addition, it is recommended that applications list the number of days in which they could not work. Not only does this explain the severity of the injury or illness, but workers may also receive a reimbursement of wages for time off in certain cases.

Occupational injuries and illnesses are common to receive at the workplace, especially if safe workplace conditions are not being meet. To find the information listed or to learn additional information, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website at bls.gov or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website at www.osha.gov.

At O’Connor Law, our attorneys specialize in many practice areas, including Workers’ Compensation and workplace injuries. Since it is possible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits from occupational injuries and illnesses, it is beneficial to have a licensed and experienced attorney on your case. Workers’ Compensation claims are able to be denied for benefits. Our attorneys can help to assist you in filing your application or an appeal in order to receive benefits that you rightfully deserve from your injury or illness. For more information regarding Workers’ Compensation or potential benefits that you may be entitled to, please contact our office and call us at 800-518-4529(4LAW).

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