Teachers can and do get injured on the job. Though this is not usually considered a high-risk occupation, injuries can happen in many ways. For instance, teachers can slip and fall on stairs or sidewalks in the winter months. They can trip and fall in the parking lot. A teacher using a ladder in the classroom could lose their balance and fall. Teachers in older buildings could find themselves exposed to things like lead paint or asbestos.
And that’s not even considering the broader topic of violence at school. Teachers have to interact with hundreds or thousands of students. All it takes is one violent incident to put the teacher and others in the hospital. Even with security in place and safety procedures more well-defined than ever, this is just an unfortunate reality that teachers face these days.
Types of classes
While considering all potential injury risks, it’s important to remember that teaching is not a uniform job. It’s not the same for everyone. Different subjects may come with their own risks.
For example, a gym teacher may constantly work around equipment that makes a fall more likely. He or she could get struck in the head. Heavy objects, like weights in the weight room, increase the risk of strains while lifting or injuries from mistakes made by students — like dropping the weights. Teachers who double as sports coaches face a lot of these same risks on the job.
Another example is a chemistry teacher. Experiments and hands-on learning are a good idea and get students engaged, but they also mean that teachers have to work with chemicals, hazardous materials, gas burners and much more. If anything goes wrong, they can get injured in a split second.
Plus, you must remember that teachers have to use these types of equipment with students around. A chemistry teacher can remain dedicated to safety at all times and still get injured when a young, inexperienced student makes a mistake. It happens, and the ramifications are serious.
You can see how these injury risks look different for some teachers than they do for, say, English teachers or math teachers. That’s not to say any teachers can’t get hurt on the job, but it is just a more constant threat for some than others based on their unique workplace environment and the activities they engage in.
Injured on the job?
Are you a teacher who got hurt on the job in Colorado? If so, it is crucial that you understand all of your legal rights and options, no matter what subject you teach or how you got hurt.