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Workers’ Compensation: Is Your Injury or Illness Work-Related?

Workers’ compensation helps cover an injury or illness caused by conditions at work. Some instances are rather cut and dry. If you are significantly injured by a meat slicer while working inside of a sandwich shop, this is a work-related injury. If a hammer falls from scaffolding and strikes your shoulder, causing it to break, it is work-related. If you develop breathing problems over time due to working inside of a mine or with chemicals, it typically is considered work-related. These are pretty self explanatory and there isn’t much of an issue identifying it. However, there are other injuries or illnesses you (or an employee) may experience that isn’t as obvious. It is necessary to determine whether or not it is work-related as workers’ compensation hinges on where the injury or illness occurred. Here are a few ways to determine whether or not the injury or illness is work-related.

Basic Requirement

According to the United States Department of Labor, an injury or illness must be considered work-related if it is due to an event or exposure in the work place. The injury/illness is caused due to the work conditions and it either directly results in the situation or it aggravates a pre-existing condition.

The injury/illness must be due to the physical location or from the equipment and materials used during the course of an individual’s work shift. For example, this can be an injury at a construction site or it can be an injury caused by heavy machinery inside of a manufacturing plant. Even using chemicals that cause a medical problem is considered work related.

Non Work-Related

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that greatly helps out employees, giving them financial contributions while they miss work. Although there are some instances where the injury or illness location is rather obvious, other times it is not as straight forward. When this is the case, it is necessary to go through a few different identifying points to figure this out. If the injury took place at work, or within a work based activity but it is not a requirement, than it does not constitute a work-related injury. For example, if it is a voluntary participation requirement, such as wellness program, work league softball, physical examination, blood donation or anything else, while it might have taken place during work hours or even on work property, volunteering is not covered by workers’ compensation.

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