With school starting up in a few weeks, it means students, for the most part, will be returning to in-person learning. Teachers will also be returning to the classroom, and although they have no doubt missed being in front of their students, there are a few common injuries for which they should be aware.
Although giving out lesson plans and administering tests may not appear to be that risky for teachers, the truth is they are prone to significant work-related injuries. Just because they do not operate large heavy machinery such as a construction worker, it does not mean that their risk of bodily harm is any less.
The more common types of injures teachers can sustain in the classroom include such things as contracting a virus. One of the biggest worries that some teachers have had has been a fear of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Other common injuries include injuries that develop over time, such as back or neck pains because of ergonomic problems with a teacher’s desk.
What Types of Injuries can Teachers Sustain at Work?
Injuries can impact all teachers regardless of whether they work in a private school or a public school. Both are also entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation if they sustain their injury during work. Not all injuries are sudden and obvious. There are those that develop gradually over time. A few of the more common injury types include the following:
- Disease transmission: Students, especially younger ones, tend to transmit a variety of viruses, including COVID-19. It can be dangerous to a certain percentage of teachers. A recent study from Education Week Teacher found that about 29 percent of teachers are over the age of 50. A teacher’s age combined with a certain level of stress can make them more susceptible to diseases.
- Repetitive stress injuries: There are certain activities in which teachers engage every day, such as writing on a chalkboard, grading papers, or working on a computer. These actions can lead to carpel tunnel syndrome and tendinitis that can cause disabilities in a person.
- Slip and fall injuries: These injuries can occur when there is a spill in the classroom or the cafeteria. A teacher could slip and hit their head on a table or the floor or land with all their weight on their arm. These can cause significant injuries that could require weeks or years to recover.
- Toxic exposure: Although it is not common, it is possible for teachers to be exposed to toxic fumes because of the poor ventilation of their school building. It can be an old building without proper ventilation, leading teachers to inhale a variety of substances including toxic fumes and odors, moisture damage, mold, pests and insects, and excessive dirt and dust. Some older school buildings may still contain asbestos.
- Work-related stress: There are teachers who have difficulty handling the job. It might be hard for some teachers to complete their lesson plans on time, or they have a particularly difficult student or may be overwhelmed with the number of students in their classroom. These issues can cause a teacher to develop feelings of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other mental health issues or manifest as physical problems, such as high blood pressure and gastrointestinal diseases.
- Hearing loss: There are significant noises that teachers encounter daily that can slowly cause damage to their hearing. School bells, lockers slamming, loud student conversations, and occasional fire alarms can all contribute to these problems.
- Workplace violence: Fights break out among students, and it is usually up to the teachers to break them up. There are instances when those fights can get violent, and a teacher can get hurt attempting to end the scuffle.
How Do I Receive Workers’ Compensation for My Injuries?
All public and private school teachers are entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation for their injuries. To participate in the program, a teacher must first report the injury to their immediate supervisor, which could be a principal or school superintendent.
Teachers should seek medical treatment for their injuries as soon as possible to determine the extent of their injuries and decide on a proper treatment program. Workers’ Compensation will pay for any medical costs associated with the injury as well as any salary loss that occurred as a result of the injury.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Teachers Receive the Workers’ Compensation they Deserve
Not all school districts or private schools are forthcoming when it comes to Workers’ Compensation. If you are encountering roadblocks in trying to receive compensation for an injury you sustained while teaching, you need an experienced lawyer on your side who can help you get the funds you deserve. The West Chester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC will confront your school for you while you concentrate on recovering. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.