Repetitive motion under poor or less than optimal workplace conditions can lead to workplace injuries.
Repetitive motion injuries such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis have become more prevalent and workplace ergonomics have become a hot topic. Even the federal government has taken note of the situation and has renewed its focus on ergonomics.
Workplace Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion under poor or less than optimal workplace conditions can lead to workplace injuries. These injuries can result from something as simple as defective office furniture and poor computer position. If your job requires repetitive motion and the office equipment you are working on is misaligned, you can suffer an injury. Employers can take simple steps to prevent these types of injuries, including making available hand and foot rests for office workers and support belts for industrial workers.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers have a general duty to provide a workplace free from any recognized hazards that are causing or have the potential to cause serious physical harm or death. While this clause has historically been used to address serious workplace violations, OSHA now has a policy that this clause applies to workplace ergonomics as well. However, inspection and enforcement for ergonomic hazards is sporadic. OSHA focuses on providing employers with research, guidelines, and information that allows them to safeguard the work environment and reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries.
Employer Liability and Workers’ Compensation
A worker’s rights to recover compensation for workplace injuries falls under the workers’ compensation system. Employers are required to carry insurance against work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, so the worker is not able to file a lawsuit for a workplace injury. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so whether or not the employer has legal liability for the injury, the worker will be compensated through the workers’ compensation system. The law also prevents employers from discriminating or retaliating against any worker who files a workers’ compensation claim.
Proving an Injury is Work-Related
Work-related injuries that result from improper ergonomics are covered under the workers’ compensation system. However, in some cases it may become difficult to establish that your injuries are work-related. You may have to prove that your injury is not pre-existing or attributable to a cause apart from your job. This is particularly true when it comes to repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are finding it difficult to get your rightful workers’ compensation benefits, talk with a St. Louis worker compensation lawyer. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.