If you’ve had an accident at work, you may be wondering whether your injury is ‘work-related’ or not. Work-related accidents are defined as any injury, illness, or condition you experience during your employment with a company, and related to your job duties and tasks while at work.
These injuries are further categorized into physical injuries, occupational illnesses, and repetitive stress injuries.
If you’re wondering what is considered a work related injury, keep reading for more information.
What Is the Work Environment?
Whether or not accidents and illnesses are caused by something in the work environment is crucial to understanding whether an injury is work-related. It’s important to know what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers to be the work environment in order to sidestep record-keeping mistakes.
The OSHA considers the work environment to be an establishment and other locations where employees are working as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes both physical spots and the equipment or materials used by a staff member during their course of work.
A work injury is an accident that occurs while someone is doing something on behalf of their employer. Most injuries counted as work-related are those that happen in the workplace. However, work injuries may also occur in company-owned trucks and other spots, if the staff member was doing something related to the work responsibilities and duties with which they are tasked.
These locations also include social events and other business parties hosted or sponsored by an employer. They do not have to take place on company-owned property.
For example, a company-sponsored Christmas party taking place at a bar would be considered a work-related event and workers’ compensation may cover any injuries that take place at the party. However, if a group of staff members goes out for drinks on a Friday night following work, this would not be counted as work-related, since this does not constitute an official company activity.
Physical Injuries on the Job
The most common workplace accidents are physical accidents. These can be:
- Injuries resulting from a staff member’s personal work. For example, hurting their back while lifting heavy items or falling off a ladder.
- Injuries caused by other people’s actions. For example, being hit by machinery on a construction site.
- General workplace accidents. For example, tripping over an item and twisting an ankle.
Common physical on-the-job accidents include damage to the:
- Wrists and hands
- Head, face, and neck
- Shoulders and back
Occupational Illnesses on the Job
Occupational illnesses are conditions that you contract, develop, or worsen because of your job duties. For example, if you work in a hospital, you may contract a contagious disease or illness.
If you work in a factory, conditions like asthma, COPD, or asbestosis resulting from dust or fumes can lead to occupational illness and disease. Such conditions can develop immediately or gradually with years of exposure.
Repetitive Stress Injury
A repetitive stress injury is otherwise known as an RSI. An RSI is the third type of accident that may be covered by workers’ compensation.
A repetitive stress injury can occur when you perform the same task or activity every day for an extended period. One of the most common repetitive stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome.
RSIs occur across all occupations and industries. If your work role is physical and requires you to continually bend over, carry heavy objects, scan items, or move in a particular way, you may be more likely to develop an RSI.
Is an Accident Work-Related If I’m Commuting?
Many staff members wonder if an accident, such as a car accident, that occurs on the way to or from work counts as a work-related injury. Often, injuries that occur while driving to or from work are not covered by workers’ comp. However, there are a few exceptions.
If you were in the scope of employment during driving, your injuries might count as work-related. For example, if you were carrying out a task for your boss or were on your way to an external meeting, you’re likely to be covered.
Consider hiring a workers’ comp lawyer for guidance on these types of issues.
Could a Non-Work Related Incident Take Place in the Workplace?
There are several situations in which an accident in the workplace would not be marked as work-related. For example:
- During the incident, a staff member was in the workplace as a member of the public rather than an employee
- The accident occurred from voluntary participation in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity. For example, a physical examination, exercise workout, flu shot, or blood donation.
- The injury is the result of a staff member undertaking personal tasks that aren’t related to their employment at the workplace outside their assigned working hours.
Now You Know What Is Considered a Work Related Injury
Now you have a better idea of what is considered a work related injury. If you’ve experienced an accident considered to be work related, you should seek proper compensation for your injury.
In the best case situation, your workers compensation claim will process quickly and promptly and you’ll receive the money you deserve. However, we know it’s not always clear whether a specific accident is covered or even considered work-related.
Sometimes speaking to a workers’ compensation attorney is important so you can claim the proper amount of compensation. If you’re looking for a knowledgeable lawyer in Nashville, contact our team to learn more about how we can help you.