What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers' compensation or work comp is a government-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to workers who become ill or injured as a result of their job or work environment. It is effectively a disability insurance program for workers and provides cash benefits and/or medical care to workers which are paid by the employer after a verification process. It also provides death benefits to families of employees who are killed on the job.
What are Workplace Injuries?
Workplace injuries range from minor cuts or bruises which are non-fatal to injuries such as severe fractures or trauma that can be fatal. Injuries can occur due to slips, repetitive motion, hazards from machinery, falling from a height, burns, or any kind of violent act. Workplace injuries often occur because of high-risk jobs, lack of or scarcity of safety devices, lack of training, a higher number of manual workers, and repetitive stress. Repetitive stress injuries are the most common types of work-related injuries with several risk factors, including repetitive, forceful, or prolonged exertion of the hands and prolonged awkward postures.
Workers Compensation Injuries and Orthopedic Surgery
Most often injuries sustained by employees are commonly related to Orthopedic Surgery. Your orthopedist plays an important role in treating work-related injuries and diseases, helping patients recover from occupational injuries and illnesses. If you have sustained an illness or injury through work and it impacts the musculoskeletal system then you should seek the diagnosis and subsequent treatment by an Orthopedist.
Any injury or damage to the musculoskeletal system can be examined by an orthopedic surgeon. This applies to conditions and injuries that affect any muscle, ligament, tendon, joint, or bone in the body. There is a range of common workplace injuries that are specific to the occupation of the employee. Your orthopedic surgeon will diagnose, treat and refer the patient to rehabilitative therapy after surgery.
Common orthopedic injuries at the workplace include:
- Bone dislocations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head and neck traumas
- Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
Causes of Workplace Injuries
Although there is no shortage of ways workers can injure themselves at work, most work-related injuries are a direct result of:
- Poorly setup workplaces
- Lack of safety education among staff
- Fatigue due to lack of breaks
- Stress (tight work schedule or time pressure)
- Employee or employer negligence
- Hazardous materials
- Dangerous machinery
- Poor lighting
- Workplace violence
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
If an employee becomes injured while on the job, Workers’ Compensation may assist in paying the rehabilitation costs and medical expenses of an employee. It may also offer partial lost wages if the injury causes an employee to miss work. An individual will be eligible to claim worker’s compensation if the individual suffers injuries or illnesses during employment and it is caused by the nature of work. However, if the injury occurred because of the negligence of an individual to obey safety rules, if the individual was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if the disability from the injury lasts for ≤3 days, then the employer will not be liable to pay compensation.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Claims Work?
If you experience an occupational illness or workplace injury, you should immediately report the incident to your employer. The injured employee should then visit a healthcare professional immediately so that the physician can furnish medical reports to substantiate any claims. Employees can then start the claims filing process as per specific state law mandates. Once these claims are approved, the recipient will receive their compensation payments and can return to work under their doctor’s guidance.