Drowning is a fatal injury that a worker can sustain as a result of a work-related accident.
Drowning is the process of suffering respiratory impairment from immersion or submission in liquid. Another term that is commonly used in the context of work-related injuries is near drowning, which refers to a condition that involves water inhalation and unconsciousness following a drowning event. It can lead to secondary complications or even death for up to 72 hours after the drowning event.
Occupations with a Higher Risk of Drowning
Work-related drowning can either occur in water or in other liquids, which is referred to as industrial drowning. Unfortunately, drownings take place suddenly and rapidly and the worker is often taken by surprise and has no time to react. The Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System of the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies drowning under traumatic injuries and disorders. Drowning is not a common work-related accident. It can occur in some types of jobs, which include:
- workers in fish hatcheries
- commercial fishermen
- dock workers
Injuries Resulting From Drowning
Work-related drowning is extremely serious and the consequences are usually grim. Most drownings result in the death of the worker but if the worker survives, various types of injuries can occur. Around a third of drowning survivors suffer moderate to severe neurologic sequelae. It is defined as biochemical, electrical, or structural abnormalities in the spinal cord, brain, or nerves. Common signs and symptoms are:
- loss of sensation
- poor coordination
- muscle weakness
Drowning-Related Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
If a worker survives a near-drowning incident, he or she may need prolonged treatment. The injured worker can file a work injury claim to cover medical expenses and lost wages. In the event of a worker’s death, the family members can receive death benefits. If you need to know more about your legal rights, call a St. Louis workplace injury lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. Call us at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.