What Makes an Injury Work Related?

Submitted by amm on

A work injury is an accident that occurs while someone is performing a task on behalf of their employer, whether on or off the workplace. If this has happened to you it may be possible to claim workers compensation from your employer as long as you can prove your injury is work related.

OSHA's Definition of a Work-Related Injury

Following the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is a federal department that was established to ensure that working conditions are safe and healthy for workers by setting and enforcing standards for work environments.

According to OSHA an injury or illness is considered to be work-related if an event or exposure that occurred in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting medical condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. According to OSHA a work environment is "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work."

Determining whether an injury or illness was caused by something in the "work environment" is crucial when deciding if a worker is eligible for workers compensation.

Physical Injuries on the Job

Most common workplace accidents are physical accidents which are often caused by the following:

  • slips, trips, and falls;
  • violence and other injuries inflicted by people or animals;
  • overexertion causing muscle strains and other physical injuries while working;
  • being hit by another worker’s equipment, or objects falling from a height;
  • being exposed to harmful substances in the work environment;
  • being exposed to a fire or an explosion;
  • being involved in a crashes or collision in the workplace.

These accidents may cause an injury to the following parts of the body:

  • muscles;
  • tendons;
  • feet;
  • ankles;
  • wrists and hands;
  • head, face, and neck;
  • shoulders and back.

Occupational Illnesses on the Job

It is not just injuries that take place on the job but occupational illnesses could occur as well. These are medical conditions that you could contract while on the job and worsen because of your job duties. Occupational hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in the United States. This affects more than 30 million workers who have been exposed to hazardous noise which caused the hearing loss.

Accidents that Would Not Be Considered Work Related

There are several situations in which an accident in the workplace would not be considered work-related. An example of this is if a worker arrives at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol and falls and hits his or her head on a sharp object. A worker who consistently or deliberately ignores safety instructions or warnings, including the use of mandatory safety gear may also forfeit the right to claim workers’ compensation if they are involved in an accident, even if it happened in a work environment.

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