Common Workplace Accidents in South Carolina
On-the-job accidents are a serious risk for workers in the Palmetto State. According to the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 102 fatal workplace injuries and about 38,600 nonfatal workplace injuries across the state in one recent year. Many of these workers suffered debilitating injuries that required extensive medical treatment and kept them out of work.
At Stewart Law Offices, our workplace accident lawyers in Rock Hill have helped many injured workers recover the money they need through a workers’ comp claim or personal injury lawsuit. We have more than 25 years combined legal experience helping injured workers like you. In that time, we’ve noticed that certain accidents come up again and again. Keep reading to learn more about the most common workplace accidents in South Carolina, and contact us today to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Rock Hill.
Most Common Workplace Accidents
According to the National Safety Council, some of the most common causes of injuries at work include:
- Transportation accidents – If you are injured in a car accident in your workplace parking lot or while engaged in a work-related activity, that might be considered an on-the-job injury. Those who work as drivers or around motor vehicles as part of their job duties are at increased risk of transportation accidents.
- Falls from tall heights – Construction workers and others who work high off the ground are at particular risk of fall-related injuries. Falls caused by structural collapses and similar incidents also fall under this category.
- Electric shocks – Utility and construction workers are particularly likely to suffer electrocutions on the job, but they are not the only ones susceptible to these injuries. Anyone working close to faulty wiring or a frayed electrical cord is potentially at risk of a shock.
- Workers being caught by or entangled in equipment – Heavy industrial equipment can crush limbs and inflict other major injuries if workers become caught or entangled in it.
- Overexertion – Carrying, lifting, pushing, or pulling a heavy object can cause significant injuries through sudden trauma or repetitive stress over time. Not having proper safety equipment or training increases this risk.
- Repetitive motion – Jobs requiring workers to perform the same movements for hours at a time can take a significant toll on their bodies, particularly if they are twisting, bending, reaching, or performing some other complex motion.
- Falls – Any worker could suffer major injuries if they slip or trip and fall, including head trauma, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones.
- Exposure to toxic substances – Those who work around hazardous chemicals and other dangerous substances need to be provided with personal protection equipment and adequate training to minimize the risk of exposure.
- Workplace violence – Emotions can sometimes get heated at work, but they should never escalate to the level of physical violence. Unfortunately, it sometimes does, leading to severe, preventable injuries.
Basic Worker Rights
Many workers in South Carolina are hurt on the job because their rights and protections under state and federal labor laws are violated. In too many cases, they are unaware they have these rights. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, your rights as an employee include:
- The right to work in an environment free of known health and safety issues
- The right to tell your employer about potential safety issues without fear of retaliation
- The right to receive safety training in a language you can understand
- The right to use and work on machines that are safe
- The right to receive required safety equipment to protect you from potential hazards
- The right to be protected from noxious chemicals and other hazardous substances
- The right to request a safety inspection from OSHA and speak personally to the inspector
- The right to report an injury or illness to your employer and receive copies of your medical records
- The right to review records of work-related illnesses and injuries
- The right to view the results of any tests conducted to locate potential hazards in the workplace
These rights are protected by federal law. Contact a personal injury attorney in Rock Hill immediately if you believe your employer has violated your rights concerning a safe workplace.
When to Report an Accident
South Carolina law gives you 90 days from the time you are injured in a workplace accident to make a report to your employer. However, it is generally better to report an accident as soon as possible to speed up the workers’ comp claim process and reduce the risk of a denial. You should make your report in writing so that there is a record of it.
If you are concerned about a potential safety hazard at your workplace, you should file a complaint with OSHA right away. The longer you wait to report the issues, the likelier it is that you or someone you work with will get hurt. Federal law protects you from retaliation if you report an accident or safety issue. If your employer retaliates against you in any way after an accident or after you report a potential safety issue, talk to a lawyer immediately.
Work Safety Tips
While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of being injured at work, there are a few things you can do to make an accident less likely. These include:
- Using personal protective equipment
- Taking your required breaks so you are not fatigued while you are working
- Taking and paying attention to workplace safety classes
- Disposing of toxic or hazardous materials properly
- Keeping your manager informed of potential safety problems so they can address the issues
For All Personal Injury Cases, Call the Stewart Law Offices Today
If you were injured in a workplace accident in Rock Hill, contact us immediately. At Stewart Law Offices, we’re committed to getting injured South Carolinians the compensation they need when they’ve been injured on the job. Call us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.