On the subject of workplace accidents, it's easy to think about the type of injuries resulting from a construction or manufacturing job. These industries come with a high amount of risk due to the type of work and equipment involved. Office injuries may not come to mind quite as much, but a New York resident injured at a desk job can certainly be covered by workers' compensation as much as any other job.
Thousands of people become hurt or ill on the job each year in New York. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 215,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the state in 2012. Many of these accidents would have occurred at a desk job or other non-industrial position.
Office injuries often differ from those at other jobs
The type of work typically performed at the office can lead to a number of injuries that are different from other types of work, says Albert Einstein College of Medicine. These injuries vary from short-term injuries to long-lasting disabilities, and can come from working at a computer, moving office equipment or even reaching up to a shelf. The most common types of injuries related to working at the office include:
- Eye strain or fatigue from staring at a computer screen.
- Hand and wrist afflictions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, from typing or performing repetitive movements.
- Back, neck and shoulder injuries from ergonomically incorrect desk equipment or heavy lifting.
- Bumps, bruises, cuts and head injuries from hitting sharp corners such as desks or office equipment, or being struck by an object falling off a shelf or out of a cabinet.
- Illnesses caused by poor ventilation or air quality.
The office environment can also present a risk of tripping and falling. In fact, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fall injuries are the most common type of work injury for most industries. There are numerous ways to slip or trip at the office, including tripping over a loose mat or cord lying across the floor; slipping on a spilled substance; or losing one's balance on a damaged floor.
An office employee who was hurt on the job may worry that his or her injury will not be covered by workers' compensation if the injury was a result of his or her carelessness or negligence; for example, if the employee lifted a heavy item improperly or fell while using a chair as a ladder. According to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, workplace injuries are covered by workers' compensation insurance regardless of fault, as long as it is not determined that the injured employee was intoxicated or intended to cause harm.
Getting help from an attorney
Many times, an employee will need an attorney who is experienced in workers' compensation law to help with the steps of filing a claim or to ensure that a case is handled properly without employer harassment or retaliation. If you were hurt at the office, it can help to discuss your situation with a workers' compensation attorney.