Tripped at Work: Your Rights | LabourBlawg

Tripped at Work: Your Rights

by Andrew Miller on June 23, 2013

Matt washes dishes at a busy and successful restaurant in the heart of a NYC neighborhood.  He works long hours, so he’s always grateful for the stress mats that are placed in front of the sink.  The mats protect his feet from the hard, industrial tile while the holes in the mat allow for any spilled water to flow into the floor drain.  One particularly busy evening, Matt was carrying a bus tub full of dishes, tripped on a mat and fell to the floor. As he fell, Matt dropped the tub of dishes, which broke immediately on contact with the floor.  Matt tried to catch himself before hitting the ground, but he fell onto the pile of broken plates, just barely missing a piece of glass to his eye.  Matt had to go to the hospital to have pieces of glass removed from his wrist and palm and received some stitches.  Because of his injury, Matt was required to stay out of work for a week and a half.  The floor mat that Matt had tripped on was old and the corners were starting to curl up.  The kitchen manager was in charge of replacing the mats, a week before the incident, but had failed to “get around to it” because he was busy with food prep.  Had the mats been replaced when and as requested, a preventable workplace injury could have been avoided.  Matt is now wondering how and if he will be compensated for his lost wages due to his injury when he tripped at work.

Hurt at Work?  You Have Rights

Workers’ Compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for employees who are injured or become ill as a direct result to their job.  Employees are not required to contribute to the cost of compensation, as it is an employer’s responsibility to pay for insurance which covers any loss of wages or medical bills in the event of an injury in the workplace.  Employees are protected by Workers’ Compensation and regardless if the incident occurred at the fault of the employee or the employer, the injured party will receive the same amount of compensation.  If the employer or the insurance company argues that the injury is not work related, the injured employee may be eligible for disability benefits and has the right to seek legal advice.

Save the hassle of Workers’ Compensation Claim, Make a Workplace Safe!

While workplace injuries seem inevitable, from time to time, many (if not all) injuries can be prevented.  According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 15 – 24 years old.  There are numerous ways to avoid and prevent slip, trip and fall workplace accidents (including, but not limited to):

  •  Prevent employees from entering an area that has a wet surface (i.e. just been cleaned or a liquid spill).  Caution signs should be prominent.
  •  Re-direct any down spouts that spill onto sidewalks, walkways or other heavily pedestrian traffic areas.
  • Keep flooring in good condition.  Replace or fix if flooring material becomes hazardous.  Additionally, fix cracks or gaps in sidewalks or asphalt.
  • Secure all cords, hoses and tubing to prevent tangling and tripping.
  •  Replace worn out mats

If you have been injured in the workplace due to a spill, trip, or fall, you have rights to seek compensation for your financial loss due to lost wages or medical bills.  Even if it is unclear how, why, or who was responsible for the incident, in most cases you are protected by workers’ compensation.  Don’t let the boss keep you down after you’ve been injured.  Get back on your feet and seek compensation!

Editors’ note: Check out LabourBlawg’s new employment lawyer directory  here.

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