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Worker’s Comp Questions: Common Curiosities

Like most things involving employment and the law, worker’s compensation benefits can come with a lot of questions. The worker’s comp questions that you have are probably the same questions that a lot of others have. If you have been injured or involved in an accident at work, we can help. Since each case is different, please consult an attorney for assistance regarding your particular case.

Worker’s Comp Questions: What People Are Asking

What should I do first?

After an accident, you should report it to your employer. In these cases, sooner is better. You must report this to your employer within the time frame your state allows. Additionally, you should report injuries as soon as they become apparent. Your employer should create an accident report. This report will help in your claim to benefits. As one of the most popular common worker’s comp questions, it’s important that employees know their rights.

Which doctor should I see?

Usually, your employer will have their own doctor that their insurance requires you to see. This is one of the common worker’s comp questions that has varying answers, however. The doctor you see for your worker’s compensation claim may vary by state, so do not just assume your normal doctor is the right one to see. Keep in mind, you may wish to gain a second opinion. In these cases, your regular doctor would work well however make sure you are documenting everything and consulting with a lawyer, as well as your employer.

I’m at fault. Now what?

Luckily, the whole point of worker’s compensation benefits is to protect the worker, no matter the fault. Common worker’s comp questions like this have conditions, however. You will be covered if you did not inflict the accident yourself. Also, accidents as the result of a drug or alcohol influence will not be covered.

What benefits will I get?

Lastly, this common worker’s comp question does not have a concrete answer. Depending on your situation, your state, and your employer, you benefits can vary. Also, your situation will dictate what kind of benefits are acceptable for you. The list of common worker’s comp questions goes on and on. It is easy for others to tell you what to do, but consult an attorney before taking any advice that may jeopardize your worker’s compensation claim. In summary, knowing what your benefits are, what you should do, and what you shouldn’t will help you on your journey to a successful worker’s compensation claim.

Coronavirus: Staying Healthy at Work

The Coronavirus has been plaguing the U.S. for a few weeks now and many of us have been provided with the luxury of working from our own respective corners. However, not everyone has been so lucky. In fact, many businesses are struggling to find ways to compensate their employees, or allow them to work remotely when business doesn’t typically allow. Therefore, you might find yourself still going to work everyday amidst a pandemic. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself? Every job is different, as are the levels of exposure you face. But, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when your employer might not be able to. 

Coronavirus: Protection in the Workplace 

Keeping your distance 

The first, and most obvious, step in reducing risk of Coronavirus is to place distance between employees. For example, if you are working in an open office, maintain the 6 foot distancing from each employee that has been suggested by the CDC. Furthermore, as an employer, consider reducing the number of staff you have working in the office. There are likely duties that can be performed remotely. Whether it be answering phones, taking reservations or replying to emails— allow someone to take that responsibility home. The key during this difficult times is to find ways own which you can still utilize, and therefore pay, your employees. 

Routine Cleaning

Second of all, cleanings are vital for reducing the risk of spread. While this is a step you should always take within the work space, this is a time to pay extra mind to doing so. You might have someone who does weekly cleanings on a regular basis, but during the Coronavirus outbreak— consider nightly cleanings. Doorknobs, coffee pots, desk spaces, bathrooms… High-traffic areas are at the highest risk. When you are forced to keep people working, sanitized spaces can go a long way in terms of keeping your employees safe and healthy. 

Reducing Non-Essential Staff

A key to creating that distance we discussed is to reduce non-essential staff within the workplace. Whether they are working from home or on leave— reducing risk of coronavirus comes down to reducing human contact. Furthermore, if you are able to eliminate contact altogether while still paying your staff— this is the ultimate goal. Not to mention, your higher risk staff should be a priority at this time. Whether they are older, immunocompromised, or fall into the other risk categories— as an employer, you have an ethical responsibility to your workers. 

At the end of the day, the Coronavirus has put both employees and employers into a tough situation. As employers, we want to be able to do right by our employees both financially and in keeping them safe. As employees, we want the same thing but it is a little more uncertain from our end. For now, the best thing we can do is to plan our budget and to be mindful of how often we venture out of the house.

Workplace Re-Entrance: Post-Injury Improvements

A worker’s compensation claim can follow with a couple different things. Some will modify your duty at work, and others mean time off to recover. However, your employer and the insurance company may be eager for you to return to work. You shouldn’t rush returning to work— it can be detrimental to your recuperation. Even you might feel like you are ready to make a workforce re-entrance. Remember that there are several steps you need to take before doing so after a worker’s compensation claim.

Workforce Re-Entrance: Getting Back in the Swing 

Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor will become a common point of contact after a workplace injury. He/she will develop a plan for recovery. This plan will project when you can make your workforce re-entrance. Your doctor will clear you to return when they feel you are medically sound. After reaching your peak improvement level, you should consult your doctor. Sometimes, doctors may allow you to return to your job with modifications or restrictions.

Be Prepared

If you are allowed to return to work with restrictions per the doctor, be prepared. Bring a note with those details to your employer. You should keep a copy of this note for your records. Be advised that workforce re-entrance with restrictions is important to your full recovery. If your employer does not follow the doctor’s orders, please consult your legal representation.

Stay Connected

Staying in contact with your doctor is important. What’s also important is staying in contact with your employer. Giving your employer updates on your status and recovery will make your workforce re-entrance smoother. These updates lets your employer know you’re taking your recovery seriously. When you do return to work, make sure you inform the proper authorities that you are doing so.

Make a Plan

When you make your workforce re-entrance, making a plan is a good idea. You can make this plan with help from your employer. Therefore, you, your employer, and even your doctor will have a clear and concise means of planning for your return and what that looks like.

Don’t Rush

Lastly, a workforce re-entrance probably means you’ll start making the same amount of money that you made pre-injury. If a doctor has given medical clearance for you to start working again but you still feel like something is wrong, consult your lawyer as soon as possible. Ask any questions you have regarding your case before returning.

PPE in the Workplace: Common Practices

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, has become an unlikely buzzword in the new era of pandemic and personal safety. However, for many different fields of work, it’s been a common practice for quite some time. PPE in the workplace is an effective tool and it has many different definitions, depending on the type of work you’re in. Whether you’re a doctor, firefighter, or even a server/bartender, PPE is key to a successful and safe work experience. 

PPE in the Workplace: Not a Passing Fad 

Medical Field

Quite obviously, those medical grade masks that we’ve been asked to wear in public spaces do have their origins in the medical field. When performing surgery, working with immunocompromised patients, or performing other duties— most nurses and doctors will have their handy dandy masks, gloves, and other equipment at the ready. PPE in the workplace for these doctors can often be the difference between life and death for others. 

Firefighters 

Speaking of life or death, PPE in the workplace for firefighters? That means protecting themselves more than others. Think oxygen masks, fireproof suits, and the like. While your definition of PPE has likely been reserved to what we are being asked to use ourselves, it has a pretty broad definition. 

Construction 

Another field where this gear has more impact on yourself than others is in construction. Steel-toed boots, glasses or eye shields, a harness, and gloves— these are all forms of personal protective equipment. When you’re working with heavy, slippery, sharp materials up on scaffolding, having PPE in the workplace is important. Not to mention when you are welding or working with chemical agents of some kind, protecting your eyes and skin can be a matter of serious injury or death. But, not only is it important, it is also (in many cases) a requirement. 

OSHA says… 

Under OSHA regulations, you must have the necessary gear in certain work spaces. Furthermore, you must also provide training as to how they should be used properly. So, as an employer, you must address hazards to prevent accidents, provide training, and provide necessary equipment to make your workspace safe. In short, PPE in the workplace has many faces and purposes— each one as valuable as the next. When used properly they might just save an arm, a leg, or an eye. 

Injury Recovery During COVID

If you’re facing an injury of some sort, whether it be related to work or play, the injury recovery process can be difficult. After all, it might require time off work, exercise, and a good amount of rest and relaxation. For some, the down time is a dream come true and for others it’s a nightmare. But when you throw COVID into the mix? Injury recovery during COVID requires special consideration for a few different reasons. But what are they? In many ways, things will remain the same but in others they will not…

Injury Recovery During COVID: How it’s Different 

Less help

When recovering from an injury, you often have limited mobility in some way. Whether your leg is hurt, your arm, your head, or even your toe— it might be hard for you to go about your day normally. In normal circumstances, you might call your mom or dad or best friend and ask them to come lend a hand during the day or stay for a few. 

But, with quarantine, you might worry about getting sick or getting others sick. Injury recovery during COVID might lead you to go at the process alone. If this is impossible in your state, consider asking someone to take a COVID test and then come spend the week with you. Or, maybe find someone who is able to quarantine with you, especially if you have doctor’s appointments that you’ll need a ride to. Which brings me to the two other difficulties you might face…

Physical Therapy 

With a virus that seemingly won’t go away, getting the assistance you need to heal to 100% might be difficult. There might be fewer session available, lower capacity, or you might just not be able to meet with a PT at all. Injury recovery during COVID might look a bit more like virtual sessions, printouts to follow, or sent home equipment. Either way, it’s important to stay committed to the plan put forth for you. The goal is getting back to 100% and to your normal life, which starts with committing to your recovery plan. 

Catching a ride 

Another difficulty that COVID has brought along is getting home safely when you can’t drive! Uber and Lyft have been at a lowered capacity. It seems like catching a ride can take upwards of 20 minutes— if you can catch it at all. This can be challenging when you are unable to drive, especially when you don’t have extra help like we mentioned above. You have errands to run, places to be, and maybe a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. When catching a ride is getting in the way of your injury recovery during COVID— it can be helpful to have a backup plan. Then, backup your backup plan. Times are tough but getting through them is not impossible. We wish you luck and a quick healing process. Call if you need us. 

How-to Ensure Restaurant Staff Safety: Hazards

Restaurants can have many hazards for employees. From waiters and busboys and kitchen staff and chefs, there are many ways to get hurt. If you work in a restaurant, you have to be careful so that you do not get into an accident at work. Restaurant staff safety is something that all restaurants should ensure.

How-to Ensure Restaurant Staff Safety: Safe at Work

Waitstaff

Being a waitress or waiter has its risks. Restaurant floors can be slick, so make sure to wear appropriate shoes. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are a good option. This could keep you from falling. A way to help ensure restaurant staff safety is to make sure floors are not wet or slippery. Non-skid floor mats can help prevent someone from slipping and falling. Placing mirrors on blind corners can lower the risk of employees running into each other in a busy kitchen and work environment. Another risk that waitstaff face is walking with heavy trays full of food or drinks. These trays could actually block the view while the person carrying it is walking, not to mention strain put on your body. The heavy tray could actually fall and hit the employee or someone else on the head.

Kitchen Staff

The kitchen staff is around many dangerous things while working. For example, they work with very sharp knives. There will also be very hot objects like stoves, deep fryers, and ovens. This increases the risk for burns. Knives and sharp tools should be in good condition and also sharp. An important part of ensuring restaurant staff safety is to make sure that employees are all trained on the equipment. They should also know how to properly handle and store sharp objects.

Since restaurants are usually very fast-paced work environments, they are at higher risk for accidents to occur. As an owner or manager, do not over-expect and push workers to go faster than they should. If someone feels rushed, they are more likely to make a mistake. This is when an accident is more likely to occur.

As you can see, there are many hazards that can come along with working in a restaurant. By wearing the appropriate attire, not rushing, and being properly trained, there is a lower chance of an employee injury and a higher chance of restaurant staff safety.