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Workplace injuries happen; be prepared in case it's you

Despite government regulations and efforts by employers to increase safety in the workplace, many employees still find themselves hurt while on the job. A complete elimination of workplace injuries is likely impossible. This is why workers in Florida should be prepared in case it happens to them.

Many different types of injuries can occur at the workplace: slips on wet surfaces, falls from heights, crushing weight caused by heavy equipment, electrical shocks, severing of limbs, as well as countless others. Though many of these are instantly damaging, some repetitive workplace movements or exposures can cause damage that accrues over time. Some workers have found themselves deaf from exposure to loud noises on a regular basis while others have found that they have mesothelioma caused by frequent interaction with asbestos.

Employers are required to know of such dangers and should do their best to make sure the workplace is safe. If they do not, they may be subject to lawsuits on top of any workers' compensation that is necessary to allow an injured employee to take time off for recuperation. In extreme incidents - often fatal cases - the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is called in to investigate. Businesses can be punished by OSHA for not adhering to proper safety protocol and may be barred from certain behaviors by the agency.

So what should you do if you are injured at work? First, seek medical attention if it is necessary. Taking care of yourself should be your primary goal. Next, get to know the laws and your rights as a worker so you can be prepared for any legal issues that may arise. This will give you an upper hand in situations with employers that attempt to disobey workplace safety laws. Finally, make sure you consider the long-term damage that may have been caused by your injury. Remember that you will one day want to retire and you may not be able to work as long as you had planned because of the accident that caused you harm.

Source: Independent, "What to do if you have been injured at work," Dec. 4, 2012

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