Office Workers Face Potentially Serious Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Massachusetts Office Worker With a Sore ShoulderOffice worker injuries rarely make the news. The work-related incidents that leave office workers injured are not as dramatic as construction site falls or truck driver accidents. However, the injuries can be just as serious, and office workers may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the injuries that they suffer.

How Office Workers Get Hurt

Work-related injuries may occur suddenly or they may develop over time. Some of the risks faced by office workers include:

  • Sitting for long periods of time. A lot of office work is sedentary. Sitting too much puts a worker at risk for musculoskeletal injuries, cardiovascular injuries, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other serious health conditions.
  • Regular computer use. Many office workers are working on computers for a significant amount of time every work day. In addition to the risks of sitting for extended periods of time, using a computer consistently may lead to eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive strain injuries.
  • Slip or trip and falls. Many offices have trip and fall hazards on the floor. A worker may slip or trip and fall on a power cord, a stack of files, torn carpet, or a wet floor, for example. These falls may result in injuries such as broken bones, significant strains or sprains, or head injuries.
  • Lifting heavy objects. Lifting heavy objects may not be one of your primary job responsibilities, but think carefully about how often you accept a heavy delivery of paper or office supplies or you move furniture around the office. Lifting a heavy object can result in back injuries or even a broken foot if the heavy object is dropped.
  • Air quality problems. Workers who work in offices without proper ventilation may suffer respiratory illnesses and other complications. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), poor indoor air quality can lead to issues like headaches, asthma, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. In extreme cases, such as when as asbestos fibers are present, cancer may result.
  • Workplace violence. Office workers may be hurt when someone commits a random act of violence or when a coworker is violent. An office worker may suffer a serious or fatal injury directly from the person committing the violence, or an office worker may trip and fall or suffer an injury in another way while trying to escape the violence.

Other incidents can also result in serious injuries that require medical care and time off from work.

Injured Office Workers May Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Office workers who suffer acute injuries or work-related illnesses that develop over time may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In Massachusetts, workers’ comp benefits may include:

  • All of your healthcare costs. This may include but is not limited to doctors’ visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and medical equipment.
  • Compensation for a portion of your lost income. The portion you can receive depends on whether you are totally or partially incapacitated and whether you are permanently or temporarily unable to work.
  • Vocational training. In some cases, you may be able to receive vocational training to help you return to meaningful employment after a work-related injury or illness.

If you have been hurt, then you need to take the right actions to make sure that you get the benefits that you’ve earned. This includes:

  • Getting medical attention. This should be done as soon as possible and can be done at an emergency room, urgent care clinic, or with your own doctor.
  • Notifying your employer of your condition as soon as possible. This should be done at the time of the accident or as soon as possible after you realize that you’ve suffered an injury or illness.
  • Filing a workers’ compensation claim. While you typically have a few years to file a claim, you will want to do so as soon as possible so that you can start receiving benefits.

Even if you take these three important actions, however, your benefits will not be automatically provided to you. Instead, you are going to have to convince the insurance company of the extent of your injury and make sure that you get all of the benefits that you are legally entitled to receive.

Our experienced disability lawyers can handle insurance company negotiations on your behalf and make sure all of your rights are protected. To learn more, please contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with us and to learn more about your rights and potential workers’ compensation benefits after an office injury.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer