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Injured Workers

Denver Workers' Compensation Blog

Fall hazards the cause of many employees being injured at work

Authorities say the most common cause of workplace injuries across all industries is falling. Employers in Colorado and elsewhere must protect the safety and health of their employees, and protection against falls is essential. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations for each industry. Although the height at which protection is required differs from one industry to the next, falls can cause employees to be injured at work in all environments.

Hazards that are most frequently responsible for workers' injuries in industrial facilities include uncovered holes in floors, along with elevated walkways and stairways without safety rails. Other workers who are often exposed to heights include tree trimmers, those who work on utilities, such as power poles, wind turbines and cellphone masts. Also, construction workers, roofers and those who move about on steel constructions high above ground level are at greater risks.

Steps to coping with a new disability

Workplace accidents will often result in temporary or permanent disabilities. Whether your disability will only last a few months or if it is indefinite, a sudden disability is life altering. Taking a trip to the grocery store or making a meal might now become an overwhelming task. You will probably feel shock, fear, and anger at having this sudden life change. It's important to know that it is normal to feel this way and there are steps you can take to cope with these new changes.

1. Get help around the house

If you are trying to adjust to a broken leg or partial loss of sight then doing what used to be simple tasks around the house could suddenly become difficult. You might not want to ask for help but it is important to accept help while you heal from your injury. It can lift a lot of stress out of your life if you ask for help from a friend or family member. They can help with things like:

Can my employer make me return to work if I am still in pain?

Not all injuries are as obvious to the outside world as broken bones and stitches. Injuries can still linger even if they do not look painful on the outside. While an injured employee is at home recovering they can receive workers' compensation benefits. While in recovery employees often feel pressured by their employer to get back to work as soon as possible. Sometimes the pain can be too much or even dangerous to endure. Here's what injured people should know about returning to work after an accident.

You do not have to return to work without a doctor's consent

If your doctor does not think that it is in your best interest to return to work then you are not required to go back. Many people try to fight an injury and only make it worse. Your doctor will let you know when they think that you are healed. If your employer is still pressuring you then give them a doctor's note stating that you are unfit to return to work.

For injured workers, access to workers' compensation is not easy

On-the-job accidents can lead to extended time away from work, which can increase the financial burden of an injury by adding lost wages to the mix. Workers' compensation benefits are supposed to help injured workers in Colorado, but a federal report indicates that many victims are not being adequately cared for. Workers who have suffered an injury while at work are actually at a significantly high risk of falling below the poverty line.

The report was compiled and released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The situation for injured workers is not pretty, and more than half of all states have made significant changes to their workers' compensation laws since 2003. Those changes put more stringent limits on workers' comp, making it increasingly difficult to access decreased benefits. It is now an exceptionally difficult ordeal for injured workers to even access necessary medical care.

Lack of training can lead to major machinery accidents

Manufacturing is a dangerous industry to work in. Accidents will happen in the workplace no matter what, but a lack of training can make an incident much worse. Workers who operate machinery on a daily basis know how important training can be. An improperly trained worker not only puts himself in danger but the people around him. For example if someone does not know how to drive a forklift then they could endanger everyone around them by accidentally dropping heavy crates or tipping the machine.

Operating machinery can look simple but the stakes are high with heavy machines. It has been shown that proper training greatly reduces the risk for injury. Here are some possible ways that a lack of training leads to workplace injuries:

Hurt at work? We get the workers' compensation benefits you need

Mention workers' compensation and most people immediately picture a victim who was harmed in a serious industrial accident. While these types of accidents can and do happen, virtually any worker in any industry can be injured at work. Because of this, it is important for Colorado workers to understand exactly what workers' compensation benefits are and what they cover.

The vast majority of employees in Colorado are covered by workers' compensation insurance through their employers. When a worker is injured during the course of completing his or her work duties, workers' compensation should cover that worker's lost wages and related medical bills. This is true even if the victim was either partially or wholly responsible for the injuries, which is due to the state's no-fault system.

Never do these six things after an accident at work

It's easy to get into a daily routine at work. You come in at the same time every day and morning rituals lead you through the workday quickly. When an accident suddenly happens in the middle of your routine it can be especially jarring. After being suddenly shaken from your routine you might not know the right things to do or say. It is important to be careful about your actions after an injury because you could be putting yourself at risk for paying medical bills yourself and losing a workers' compensation claim. Just make sure to never do the following after an accident at work:

1. Wait to tell your employer

Often employees will wait to see if their injury gets better before notifying their employer because they feel embarrassed or do not want to bother their boss. Never wait to tell your employer about an injury. It can indicate that you are not serious about your injury. In Colorado you have to report an injury in writing to your boss within four days. If you do not follow this deadline then you could get your benefits reduced for tardiness or even lose the claim all together.

Can construction workers receive workers' compensation and disability benefits?

Construction employees work around hazards such as tall heights, heavy equipment, and sharp tools. When accidents happen the injuries can be worse than in most professions. These injuries will have a major impact on daily life and can last a long time. When employees see that their workers' compensation benefits are not what they need then many ask, "Can I get both workers' compensation and disability benefits?"

The answer is not so straightforward. First of all it is important to understand the difference between the two types of benefits. Workers' compensation claims cover temporary workplace injuries. Disability benefits or SSDI are run by the Social Security Administration and cover long-term non-work related injuries. In most cases you will not receive both at the same time but there are exceptions.

Goodwill employee dead after accident, death benefits possible

Most people associate workplace injuries and fatalities with the construction and manufacturing industries, but virtually any Colorado employee in any work environment can be harmed while completing their work duties. A Goodwill employee is a tragic example of just that after he suffered fatal injuries on the job. Although no amount of compensation could ever replace the life of a loved one, his family can likely address the financial-related damages through workers' compensation death benefits.

The 24-year-old victim had been working at the Goodwill location for only a brief period of time -- a few weeks -- when the deadly accident occurred. The accident involved a trash compactor, which other employees say they attend to quite often. He was apparently attempting to correctly align one of the trash compactor's bins when he somehow suffered severe head injuries. Although he was taken to an area medical center, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries and died.

What if I was assaulted by a patient at work?

In February 2015, National Public Radio (NPR) conducted a five-part investigative series on injured nurses and how hospitals have mistreated their injured healthcare workers when they suffer a workplace injury.

After their series, in approximately June 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched their own initiative to inspect hospitals and enforce safety compliance in an effort to reduce injuries. Should hospitals not implement or comply with appropriate workplace safety, which includes more training and providing appropriate devices to assist with lifting, OSHA can impose fines ranging from $7,000.00 to $70,000.00. 

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