Can Distractions Lead to Injuries in the Workplace?November 17, 2021
Workplace injuries can lead to a snowball effect on an injured person’s life. Not only do on-the-job injuries disrupt a worker’s ability to earn a living and provide financial support for themselves, but also it limits their ability to live their life. What is most unfortunate is that many workplace injuries are preventable because they are caused by distractions.
When people think of workplace accidents, they often think of construction work as being inherently dangerous. Although hazards do exist on a construction site, anyone in any industry can suffer an on-the-job injury. If you have been the victim of a workplace accident that has caused your injuries, you may be entitled to benefits under your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance policy.
Types of Workplace Distractions
No matter what industry you work in, you face certain distractions. So do your colleagues and managers. When these distractions reach a certain level, they can make an otherwise safe workplace much more dangerous and result in worker injuries.
Pressure. Workers in every industry face pressure to get the job done on budget, on time, and accurately. As workers increase their efficiency, their company or managers may increase their goals. The risk of injury increases significantly when pressure is placed on employees to keep going and meet or exceed their goals. Many workers accept this pressure because they think it will show their managers that they have the dedication needed for a promotion or raise. Unfortunately, this often just leads to a worker getting injured because they are moving too quickly.
Repetition. Multiple studies have shown repetitive tasks to injure workers at alarming rates. But repetition itself can also lead a worker to daydream or enter a brain fog. Because their work has become so routine, they think they can do the work automatically and do not need to focus. However, that repetition can lead to overconfidence and injuries.
Fatigue. Just like companies and managers push employees to exceed their goals, they sometimes also push employees beyond their physical limits. When workers are too tired or have been working too long without a break, they can lose focus and make simple mistakes. Unfortunately, even simple mistakes can lead to serious injuries.
Interruptions. Many workers need to focus on doing their jobs effectively and efficiently. When workers are constantly interrupted, they cannot get into a flow in their work and are forced to have their minds focus on something other than their work. This can be dangerous, especially in certain industries, where a worker’s mind must remain focused on the task at hand.
Phones. Just like phones cause distractions for drivers, they can cause distractions for workers, too. When a worker is looking at their phone, they are not focused on work. This could mean they are intentionally distracting and interrupting themselves. In some workplaces, looking at a phone could take one worker’s attention away from aiding a colleague. In extreme cases, the distracted worker could do something that causes a colleague to suffer an injury.
Multitasking. Humans are bad multitaskers. Our brains work most effectively when we are focused on a single task. However, company pressures and managerial oversight can force workers to try to focus on more than one task at a time. Doing so could have catastrophic consequences because the worker is unable to focus on any task because they are trying to do too much.
Reducing the Risk of Workplace Injuries
Even though your employer should be the one to implement policies and take action to reduce workplace injuries, you and your colleagues can have an impact by following key items. You can also speak with your manager about what can be done to help reduce the frequency and severity of workplace injuries.
Encourage breaks. Your company should encourage employees to take regular breaks. If you see a colleague struggling, you can encourage them to take a break, too. Even walking away for 10 minutes can bring a fresh mindset. Sometimes, workers get too in their heads and try to power through fatigue or mental distractions. This can lead to serious injuries, but avoiding it is so simple; just walk away for a few minutes.
Vary schedules and tasks. Depending on the type of industry you work in, schedules and tasks may vary from day to day or week to week. Too much variety can lead workers to make simple mistakes because they are unfamiliar with the work they have been assigned. But a little variety can help keep the mind sharp and avoid repetitive and mundane tasks that can quickly lead to injuries.
Limit phone use. Phones are a distraction. Especially in already hazardous industries, it might be good to have a company policy eliminating the use of phones except on breaks. Even listening to music or a podcast can be a sufficient distraction for an employee, which could lead to them making a mistake or missing an opportunity to help a colleague in a dangerous situation.
Use managerial oversight. This does not mean micromanagement, but instead a policy of managers and supervisors taking time to ensure workers are being as safe as possible. When a manager walks through a facility, for example, they should see employees working and not distracted in conversation or on their phones. However, this is effective only if a manager has a good relationship with their team members; otherwise, it easily comes across as micromanagement.
Speak up. Above all, workers have the ability to speak up when they see potential problems. Especially in high-risk industries, you cannot eliminate all potentially hazardous work situations. However, by speaking up about workplace safety, you can help increase the likelihood that you and your colleagues will stay safe at work and not be forced to recover at home from a workplace injury that could have easily been prevented.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
With few exceptions, every employer is required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Workers’ Compensation is no-fault insurance, which means that unless a worker intentionally injures themselves, they should receive benefits under their employer’s policy.
However, Workers’ Compensation is carried by insurance companies, and insurance companies are not usually willing to pay out claims. Their goal is to keep as much money in their pockets as possible and out of yours. Ultimately, this means that you could miss out on benefits for which you are entitled if you do not fight for them.
Workers’ Compensation provides employees who are injured at work with certain benefits. These include:
- Medical bill coverage
- Lost wages
However, these benefits are not always automatic. First, you need to alert your employer immediately that you have been injured. They need to complete a form and alert their insurance carrier. Then you need to file a claim.
The insurance company will want lots of information documenting your injury and the medical care you received to get better. If you do not provide every single item they request, they may deny your claim. This sounds outrageous, but it happens frequently. For injured workers, it is often best to speak with a lawyer about your options as soon as possible after your workplace accident.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Recover
Workplace injuries cause many workers to be out of work, experience pain, and miss out on life events. When you get injured at work, you may be entitled to benefits under your employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy. However, the insurance company that manages the policy may not be thrilled to pay out the full benefits to you, which might mean you need to battle with them. With enough to focus on, let someone else handle the complex negotiations with the insurance company and be your advocate. The Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton stand ready to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
With offices in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.