When you talk about workplace injuries, people often focus on impact-based injuries. They talk about falling from a ladder, for instance, or being struck by an object dropped from above. Road workers talk about being struck by passing cars or hit with heavy machinery.
These are all serious situations and very real dangers, but it’s important not to forget that non-impact injuries can also be incredibly serious. They often happen because of bodily reactions and overexertion. For instance, these injuries can happen when someone is:
Lifting is probably the clearest example of overexertion. Someone tries to pick up an item that is slightly too heavy. They still think they can do it and they don’t want to stop and get a machine to assist, so they strain to pick it up and throw their back out. Back injuries can linger for life, and it often feels more likely that you’ll get injured again if it happens once.
Turning is a good example of a bodily reaction injury. Maybe you’re carrying something heavy when another worker comes around the corner in a forklift. You’re surprised and try to step quickly out of the way, twisting your knee in the process. This could rupture your ACL, which means you need surgery and you may have months of recovery time ahead of you — all because of that one wrong step.
No matter how you get hurt on the job, you can’t deny the impact it has on your life and your career. Make sure you understand your legal options.