When it comes to blue collar business, few people work as hard as factory employees. The hours are long, the work can be grueling, and the pace is fast. When you combine these factors with the use of large, complex machinery and heavy equipment, something is bound to go wrong once in a while. Unfortunately, this often results in on-the-job injuries for honest factory workers.
Contrary to popular belief, employers don’t look out for the best interests of their employees. They’re all about protecting the bottom line. If you’re injured in a factory job, your employer will see your situation as a threat to profitability. That’s why it’s imperative that you respond in a swift, appropriate manner.
Common Workplace Injuries for Factory Workers
A factory can be a dangerous and hostile place. One mistake or malfunction and serious injures can follow. The most common ones include:
Repetitive stress injuries
Factory workers are often asked to do the same tasks over and over again – sometimes hundreds or thousands of times per week. Eventually, this can lead to repetitive stress injuries to specific joints or muscle groups. Long-term effects can include pain, numbness, or tingling.
Factories require a lot of their employees. Efficiency and output are the primary objectives. This often leads to overexertion injuries, which can result in musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.
Slips and falls
When liquids, oils, wires, and equipment are left out, slips and falls can occur. They can result in everything from minor bumps and bruises to serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Exposure to harmful substances
Long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals, gases, and fumes can lead to serious health issues. This may include skin irritation, serious burns, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
Heavy machinery can be complicated and dangerous. If employees get too close, or if the machinery malfunctions, entanglement is always a possibility. This can lead to burns, fractures, discolorations, and (in extreme cases) amputation.
In large warehouse or factory settings where heavy boxes are stacked high up on shelves, falling objects can result in broken bones, lacerations, spinal injuries, TBIs, and any number of dangerous injuries.
3 Steps You Should Take
Regardless of how the injury occurred or how serious it may seem, it’s important that you respond in the appropriate manner. Here are a few steps to take:
Get Medical Attention
Nothing matters more than your health, safety, and well-being. Make sure you get immediate medical attention after an injury.
For starters, your swift response could mitigate injuries and pave the way for a swifter recovery. Secondly, it shows just how serious the injury is, which can benefit you when it comes time to file a report and seek damages.
Hire a Lawyer
As soon as you’re in stable condition – and before you sit down to answer questions from your employer, HR, or your employer’s insurance company – contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.
A good workers’ compensation attorney will help you understand your options so that you don’t end up getting the raw end of the deal. This is especially important when it comes to workers’ comp benefits.
“Workers’ compensation benefits are very helpful, but they are most needed right after an injury, when you are out of work and unable to earn income,” Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. explains. “Likewise, many healthcare providers will not bill your health insurance if they know your injury is work-related.”
Your attorney can walk you through the process and help you understand your options and leverage. This typically results in a much better outcome.
File an Accident Report
Most people are incorrectly led to believe that they have to file an accident report immediately after an injury occurs and before contacting an attorney, but this is patently false.
While it can vary from state to state, you typically have up to 30 days to notify your employer of an injury. This individual can be a supervisor, foreman, human resources representative, or other authorized agent of the employer.
The benefit of hiring an attorney prior to filing an accident report is that you’re able to formulate a game plan for how you want to handle the issue. This increases your odds of achieving a positive outcome.
Don’t Procrastinate or Delay
You can’t sit back and wait for your employer’s insurance provider to come to you with a lousy offer. No matter how much you like the company you work for, you must realize that it’s you against them. Avoid procrastinating and be proactive in how you respond.
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