Ignoring Workplace Ergonomics Leads to Serious Injuries

When workplaces are not ergonomically designed, employees may develop work injuries, and the most common injury is a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

In Pennsylvania, MSDs are generally compensable under workers’ compensation. If a worker was injured due to poor or lacking workplace ergonomics, they may need a lawyer to collect the maximum amount of benefits available.

What Causes Musculoskeletal Disorders?

MSDs are soft tissue injuries that are often caused by overexertion, awkward postures, repetitive motions, and vibration. They account for approximately one-third of all occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States.

An upper extremity MSD is the most common and costs approximately $28,866 to $33,258, according to the Safety Pays Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Increased Opioid Abuse and Suicides

Another effect of ignoring workplace ergonomics is the increased risk of suicide or opioid overdose. Opioid abuse remains a concern when it comes to MSDs, as workers who file workers’ compensation claims are prescribed higher doses of opioids than those filing private claims in order to get them back to work sooner.

Injured workers have elevated rates of both opioid use and depression, which may lead to suicide or opioid overdose death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were a record number of 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 and that suicide rates have steadily increased in the last two decades.

Are There Alternative Treatments?

According to the OSHA, opioids do nothing to treat the underlying problem; all they do is help the injured worker to feel less pain while the primary cause of pain remains. The OSHA recommends several alternative treatment solutions, including:

  • Physical therapy: Treatments, like stretches, deep tissue massage, injury-specific strengthening, and hot and cold treatments, can improve patient outcomes. Physical therapy also saves up to 60 percent on medical bills and can improve chronic conditions, according to the OSHA.
  • Prevention: The best solution is to try to prevent an injury from happening. Employers may implement workplace injury prevention programs as well as OSHA-approved techniques, such as hot and cold therapy, massage, application of non-rigid support, and exercise to help prevent injuries in the workplace.
  • Early treatment: If an injured employee is seen within 24 to 48 hours, most musculoskeletal injuries can often be treated in just three to four visits, according to the OSHA. Employers may also encourage employees to self-identify early in order to prevent discomforts from becoming more serious injuries.

When is an Injured Worker Eligible for Compensation?

If a worker is hurt doing a work-related task, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. After suffering a work injury, a worker should speak to a lawyer. A lawyer will assist with a claim and ensure that the worker receives workers’ compensation benefits.

Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Help Workers Obtain Benefits for Work Injuries

If you are suffering from an MSD caused by insufficient or nonexistent workplace ergonomics, contact one of our Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC. Our experienced attorneys help clients obtain the maximum amount of benefits available. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 610-594-1600. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.

A Message to Our Customers About Coronavirus COVID-19:
PLEASE READ »

WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Since Governor Wolf’s Order changing Chester County to green status, Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC is open for business. We are making every endeavor to keep our clients safe. If you would like to interact mainly by remote means, we can facilitate your request. Also, we have modified our office pursuant to the below COVID-19 safety plan to keep our clients as safe as possible.

COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN

FOR WUSINICH & SWEENEY, LLC

  1. Check all people’s temperatures upon entrance. Deny entrance to anyone with a fever. Inform visitors that we regret that the law requires us to deny entry to people with fevers or other symptoms, and the firm will schedule a telephone or video visit promptly.
  2. Any persons with symptoms (fever, coughing) should stay home.
  3. Stagger work/meeting times to minimize number of persons in the office at once.
  4. All employees and visitors must wear masks except when office is empty or when sitting at own desk.
  5. Make soap and water and hand sanitizer available for all.
  6. All employees and visitors must maintain social distancing while in building.
  7. Use plastic sneeze guards at front desk and in conference room.
  8. IN CASE OF EXPOSURE TO PERSON WITH PROBABLE OR CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19:
    1. Close off areas visited by infected person.
    2. Open outside doors and windows and use fans, if possible, to circulate air.
    3. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical and then clean and sanitize all affected areas.
    4. Identify people who were in close contact (within six feet for more than ten minutes) and follow CDC guidelines.