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Report: overexertion a major cause of workplace injury

Workplace injury is a broad category of inquiry, with all types of injuries occurring every day and every year. There are certain types of injuries, though, that are more common across the board, and these recently came into focus when Liberty Mutual released its annual top-ten list of the leading causes of workplace injury. The top-ten list is based on recorded workers’ compensation claims data from the company and data from other sources.

For 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, overexertion and falls were a particular focus, with over $25 billion having been spent in workers’ compensation on these claims alone. Overexertion refers to situations where a worker becomes injured during an activity that involved pushing, pulling, holding, lifting, throwing or carrying an object. Although sources didn’t specify what types of injuries these activities commonly lead to, it wouldn’t be surprising if the answer was musculoskeletal injuries, particularly back injuries.

Back injuries are among the most common workplace injuries in the United States, accounting for one in five workplace injuries or illnesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because back injuries are so common, it is important for Pennsylvania workers’ to understand how to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if they become injured.

The most important thing is to promptly report any workplace injuries or work-related illnesses to the employer. An employee who fails to notify his or her employer of an injury right away risks denial of benefits, or at least a delay in benefits. Employers are required to report the injury to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation by filing a report of injury once the workers misses a day, shift or turn of work due to a workplace injury.

Employers and insurance companies are not always cooperative when a worker pursues workers’ compensation benefits for a legitimate injury, and it is important for workers facing such a situation to understand their options in terms of litigation. Working with an experienced attorney is critical so that one’s rights receive the advocacy they deserve.

Source: Claims Journal, “Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries: Liberty Mutual,” Denise Johnson, Jan. 14, 2015. 

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