Archive for April, 2020

Job burnout can lead to workplace accidents

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

Workplaces can be extremely busy. There is a lot of work to be done and employers usually ask workers to do more and to do it faster. But there are times when workers can feel overwhelmed, leading to job burnout. It’s something that has become much more common in the workplace, and has even been recognized by the World Health Organization as an occupational phenomenon.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has been helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. We’ve seen the very real effects of job burnout and how it can harm workers on the job.

What is workplace burnout?

Burnout is when you are depleted and drained by the responsibilities of your job. It can be described as a state of exhaustion and feeling that you have nothing left to give. It can leave you feeling that you are no longer able to perform the duties expected of you. You may start hating your job, even if you previously liked it.

Workplace burnout can happen when workers are overwhelmed with multiple responsibilities for an extended period of times. It can currently be seen among first responders and health-care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Accountants bombarded with tax returns, warehouse workers scrambling to fulfill orders and delivery drivers given unrealistic schedules can all experience burnout. It can happen to any worker in any industry.

Symptoms of burnout vary. But they can include fatigue, depression and feeling useless. You may feel irritable. Physical symptoms can include headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure and feeling your heart rate go up.

How can workplace burnout lead to injury?

Burnout affects everything you do. For example, it can affect your judgment and your attention span. You may become less aware of your surroundings, leading to a slip-and-fall or machinery accident. You may forget to follow safety procedures. If you drive as part of your job, you may not notice a car or truck making a turn in front of you.

The result can be a workplace accident that leaves you with serious injuries. You need medical treatment. You may miss extensive time from work, meaning there is less income coming in. Recovery may take weeks, months or even longer. You can be left with a permanent disability and unable to return to your job.

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover your medical expenses and provide you with partial wages while you recover from your injuries. But if the potential for job burnout is still there, you face the risk of further injury in the future.

What can be done about workplace burnout?

Taking time off can help you recharge your batteries. But some of the same problems may exist when you come back. One of the things you can do is talk to your employer about adjusting your workload. Other employees may be able to help or do some of the tasks that had been assigned to you.

Make your own health and well-being a priority. Be sure to take your assigned breaks at work. If you have health benefits, considering going to a doctor or a mental health professional and talk about the burnout you have been experiencing.

Job burnout is something that many workers will experience at some point. But it’s not something that you need to learn to live with – it can be overcome. Make your own health and safety a priority.

Contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl to find out how to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt on the job.

Can grocery store workers collect workers’ comp for COVID-19?

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

On March 24, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses to cease in-person operation to help prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

While several Massachusetts businesses have closed their doors to the public, grocery stores are still fully operational. Even while residents across the Bay State hunker down, many of them still need to go out to purchase food and other essential items.

What risks do grocery store employees face?

As a result of the high demand for essential items, grocery store employees are at a heightened risk of being infected with COVID-19 while on the job. Several grocery stores have installed Plexiglas sneeze guards at cash registers to help protect employees, but some employees may have to come in close contact with customers or may touch surfaces where the virus remains.

In addition, many employees have to work faster and harder in order to keep up with the demand. This can lead to worker fatigue, exertion injuries and workplace accidents.

Common workplace accidents in grocery stores include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Falls from ladders and stepping stools
  • Being struck by falling inventory
  • Accidents with forklifts and pallet jacks

What should I do if I become ill or sustain an injury at work?

There are three main symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you have developed any these symptoms, it’s critical that you report them to your employer immediately and call your doctor so you can get tested. Even if your symptoms are minor, you will need to quarantine at home for at least 14 days.

If you have sustained any injury on the job due to a workplace accident, be sure to notify your employer and get medical attention as soon as possible.

Can I obtain workers’ compensation benefits?

If you were infected with COVID-19 or injured while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Massachusetts law. Workers’ compensation would pay for lost wages while you’re unable to work and any medical expenses related to your illness or injury.

Getting workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts isn’t easy, however. Any errors made during the filing process could result in a delay or denial of benefits. An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help guide you through your claim and help streamline this complex process.

To find out how we can maximize your chances of obtaining benefits, contact us online or call us at (508) 677-4900. Our case evaluations are confidential and free of charge.