by Andrew Bainbridge | Jul 14, 2020 | General Information
In the state of Ohio, an employer with even just one employee must carry workers compensation insurance. This insurance provides cash assistance to employees who were injured on the job or while on the job outside of a work setting, but in a work context. It also covers medical expenses, and in the most tragic cases, can provide death benefits. And while all employers are required to carry workers compensation, some jobs are just more dangerous than others. Ohio has a diverse economy, but farming, manufacturing, and construction are some of its largest industries with the most potential for danger. Other professions like firefighting, healthcare, and law enforcement are equally dangerous all around the United States, and Ohio is no exception.
Here are 6 of the most dangerous jobs in the Buckeye State, according to workers compensation attorneys in Columbus:
It’s not surprising that firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in Ohio, or America at large, for that matter. In Ohio, there are approximately nine incidents necessitating workers comp among every 100 firefighters, while the national average is around 13.5. The most common danger facing firemen is (you guessed it) fires, which can result in burns, smoke and asbestos inhalation, falling debris, exposure to dangerous chemicals and radioactive materials, and trips and falls facilitated by slippery surfaces, limited vision, and the burden of carrying around 80 pounds of gear through windows and burning buildings.
Ohio is a Midwestern State that makes sizable contributions to US Agriculture in terms of soybeans, corn, and grains. But farming is dangerous work. Most injuries and fatalities in agriculture result from a machinery-related incident, such as a tractor flipping over. Slow farm equipment driven on roads might collide with fast-moving and impatient motorists. Farm machines with blades, rotors, and other moving parts can become a prime place for limb-mangling accidents that are permanently disabling or fatal. In fact, according to the ILO (The International Labor Organization) almost half of all workplace accidents around the world occur in the context of farming.
Ohio is also a locus for the automotive industry. Honda, Ford, and Jeep (really, Fiat Chrysler) all own plants in Ohio. These plants, with their heavy mechanical equipment, can become hotbeds for work related injuries, in particular injuries that require longer to heal. In fact, car manufacturing results in the most injuries that necessitate extended time out of work, recuperating. Employees on the assembly line are exposed to dangerous chemicals like battery acid and corrosive cleaners. Forklifts, jacks, and other pieces of heavy machinery result in many struck-by-object incidents. Confined spaces sometimes lead to suffocation, especially in the case of a chemical leak or fire. Fire itself is concern, with engines, welding equipment, and electrical wiring all presenting a potential threat. Falls are also common in a factory setting.
Healthcare does not seem to be rife with potential for acute injuries like those too-easily found in factory work or firefighting, but you’d be surprised to learn that in some years, healthcare workers suffer the highest rate of on the job issues than any other industry; for example, in 2014, 157 injuries were reported for every 10,000 healthcare workers. Many of these injuries were acute incidents sustained in a nursing home or convalescent care facility, where a nurse or caregiver became strained attempting to transport uncooperative patients, or those with limited mobility. Exposure to illness is also common, but there are some complexities around collecting workers compensation for an illness sustained in a healthcare setting. Nevertheless, you should not avoid speaking with a workers compensation lawyer in Columbus about your unique case.
A building site is filled with the potential for accidents, from falls to exposure to dangerous building materials. Some incidents are acute injuries, such as being struck by a falling object, while others are illnesses that take time to develop, such as cancer related to consistent asbestos exposure. However, despite these risks, construction related work injuries may not be as frequently reported as those sustained in other working contexts. Companies may be reluctant to report injuries and discourage filing claims with the BWC. Some labor may be under the proverbial table, which of course means that claims will not be filed. It’s important to consult with a workers compensation lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, if your job carries significant elements of risk.
It makes sense that enforcing the law—which often involves apprehending dangerous criminals, sometimes mid-crime—can result in injury or death. By some estimates, law enforcement was one of the most dangerous career paths in Ohio, with around 53 injuries per 1,000 law enforcement personnel. Thankfully, sprains, strains, and tears are actually the most common injuries on the job, but only for non-fatal injuries. Among fatalities occurring to police officers nationally, almost 60% were the result of violence, while the rest were mostly incidents relating to transportation (such as a vehicle crash during a chase, or otherwise). Ohio does not fare much differently than the rest of the country; policing is a dangerous job.
What to do if you’re injured at work:
In some of the working contexts listed above, the regulated nature of the profession means that filing a workers compensation claim will be encouraged. In other working contexts, unfortunately, an employer might try to discourage or even intimidate an employee in the hopes that they will not file a claim. Regardless of where your employer falls on this spectrum, they are required to furnish you with the requisite paperwork to initiate your claim. This First Report of Injury Form can be mailed into the BWC or delivered in person. It can also be filled out online.
Do not put off consulting a doctor in the hopes that your injury will heal, because you never know when an injury could lead to sustained issues. Of course, it goes without saying that if you need immediate medical attention, you should get it. Many employees avoid seeking medical attention for non-emergency injuries because they are afraid of losing their job or lost wages. This should not be your concern, as any workers comp lawyer in Columbus, Ohio will tell you. Rather, you should seek medical attention from a provider of your choice in case your employer attempts to steer you toward their own provider, who might align with the goal of the workplace in deflecting workers comp claims. However, note that in some working contexts, you may be required to seek medical attention from a specific provider delegated by the business; consult with a workers comp attorney in Columbus, Ohio to discuss the rights implied and terms expressed in your working contract.
One of the main reasons it’s important to get medical care and initiate filing your claim with the BWC is because there is actually a very short statute of limitations in Ohio for filing workers compensations claims: one year. Two years may apply for select other circumstances such as a work-related illness that develops after you have worked for an employer and it is later discovered by a doctor. Whatever the case may be, do not let the time go by, and don’t be intimidated by your employer or concerned about lost wages.
A final word about the most dangerous jobs in Ohio…
You don’t need to be a firefighter, cop, or construction worker in order to be exposed to the danger of a potential injury at work. Even the most mundane office setting can see workers getting injured with a slip or fall, or developing a condition that results from sitting at a desk all day (such as carpal tunnel syndrome).
Even so, by the numbers Ohio seems to be a safer place to work than most other states. While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that injuries and work-related illnesses average 3 cases per 100 employees in the private and public sectors, in Ohio that ratio is slightly lower at 2.9. However, a Columbus work injury lawyer would be quick to point out that (1) Ohio is only better in this regard by 4%, and (2) these numbers are not telling the whole story. Unlike other states, workers compensation in Ohio is sold by the state through the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation—and you can be sure that both the BWC and he employer that has purchased workers comp insurance through its agency want to deflect as many claims as possible—which is why it never hurts to solicit help from a Columbus work injury attorney. The state-sponsored nature of the Ohio workers compensation insurance provided to employees can mean that it’s even more important to solicit the services of legal professionals who can help push your claim through the bureaucracy. At The Bainbridge Law Firm, we have a team of dedicated workers compensation lawyers in Columbus, Ohio and other select cities throughout the Buckeye State.
If you’ve been injured at work or would like to preemptively discuss the potential terms presented by your employers workers comp plan, contact us today.
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