As soon as the holiday season starts in America, a variety of industries see a noticeable increase in client and customer traffic. While increased sales are good for profits, the busy nature of working on the holidays can also mean an increased risk of a workplace accident. Haste makes waste and accidents, after all.
What sort of holiday workplace accidents occur more often than not? And how can they be prevented?
Back Pain & Strain
For retail, grocery, and warehouse workers, the holidays mean more products are coming off shelves and landing in shopping carts. To keep up with the increased consumer demand, workers can expect a significant increase in the work that needs to be done in an average shift. The problem is that hours of stocking shelves, moving inventory, unloading trucks, and other manual labor can and often does result in a back injury, pain, or strain. When a backache is enough to prevent a worker from continuing to work safely, a workers’ compensation claim might be in order.
To help prevent back injuries at work, employers should train all employees in proper lifting techniques. Staff schedules should be planned to anticipate heavy lifting tasks so that two or more people can handle those objects in a team-lift effort. When an employee complains of a worsening backache, the employer or manager should reassign them to less strenuous duties and ask if they would like to see a doctor.
Mental Health Difficulties
Did you know that workers’ compensation benefits are not available just for physical injuries but mental health concerns as well? When an employee develops mental health difficulties like anxiety or depression due to their work expectations and activities, they might be able to receive workers’ comp benefits like payments for therapy sessions. In most cases, workers’ comp claims related to mental health difficulties are filed by first responders who witness tragic events or grievous wounds, but this is not a specific limitation under most policies.
With this said, workers who are scheduled for long hours and weeks during the holidays can become overwhelmed and significantly stressed. If the stress of the season gets to be too much, then they could suffer a mental breakdown, which could be followed up by a workers’ compensation claim.
Another valid concern among holiday workers is the risk of exposure to ill coworkers and shoppers. Although it might be difficult to prove that an illness came from a shopper, there could be a chance to file a valid workers’ compensation claim if the illness began with a coworker who was exhibiting clear symptoms but was still instructed to stay clocked-in and working. During a holiday rush, it is not uncommon for an employer to keep all workers on the clock, even when they should be sent home or on break.
Occupational illness claims such as those in the scenario described can be legally challenging, though. Employers and insurers alike will not want to take the case seriously because they know it can be difficult to prove the connection between one ill worker and another. If you think you have such a claim on your hands, then it is highly advised that you reach out to a local workers’ compensation attorney to see what to do next.
Leonard Law Group offers free case evaluations to injured workers throughout Chicago and the surrounding area. If you need help with your workers’ comp claim, please let us know by dialing (312) 487-2513 today.