Not every workplace injury is sudden or caused by a specific event. Sometimes, injuries sneak up on workers gradually and develop over time. Repetitive exposures or activities on the job often lead to these conditions.Though many workers do not realize it, some are still entitled to workers' compensation benefits due to these injuries. A Santa Clara County or Gilroy, California workers' comp attorney can help you determine if you qualify. But first, you need to determine if you have one of these often overlooked workplace injuries.
Do I Have a Commonly Overlooked Workplace InjuryWhen an injury develops over time, workers and employers often overlook them. A few commonly overlooked work injuries include:
- Hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) claims that hearing loss is prevalent in noise-exposed industries. This can include jobs in construction, agriculture and forestry. Dangerous noise levels can damage eardrums, the bones in the ear or cause tinnitus. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), recurrent exposure to noise at 85 decibels or higher can cause hearing loss.
- Lung problems. Workers often breathe in particles from their workplace. This often exposes them to chemicals, dust, and smoke from the work environment. Eventually, these hazardous particles can break down lung tissue and cause problems. This is why workers in industries such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing and construction have a higher prevalence of asthma and lung disease.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Musculoskeletal injuries can occur from repetitive motion and overuse. For example, jobs that require repeated lifting could lead to back injuries. Another common musculoskeletal injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. Cashiers, hairdressers and typists often suffer from this injury due to repetitive wrist movement. Repeating the same motion for your job often takes a toll on your joints. Over time, this type of work can cause inflammation, pain and even early arthritis. Generally, if you are repeating the same motion for your job, over time it could take a toll on your joints, causing inflammation, pain and even early arthritis.
- Stress and anxiety are silent dangers in the workplace. Stress can wreak havoc on the human body by raising blood pressure and weakening the immune system, making it more susceptible to injury. Chronic stress could lead to depression and other psychiatric issues or even heart problems.
- Psychological Injuries. California does recognize sychiatric injuries in its labor code. However, the worker must prove their psychiatric injury resulted predominantly from work, and their employer must have hired them at least six months prior to the claim. If a worker has been a victim of a violent act or has had direct exposure to a violent act over the course of their employment, then they must prove that at least 35 to 40 percent of their injury resulted from work.