Essential workers have always played an integral role in our everyday lives, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, their roles are even more invaluable. Whether you work in manufacturing or stock inventory at your local grocery store, you are one of the millions of essential workers who help keep our country running during these challenging times.
As you put in extra hours and show up to work every day, your health and safety still remain a top priority. Do you have a plan in place for you and your family if you are injured on the job? Are you as safe as you can be in the workplace? Let’s take a closer look at ways to ensure safety and have a plan in place in the event that a workplace injury or illness occurs.
The Statistics of Being Injured on the Job
Regardless of their occupation, all essential workers are at risk of being injured on the job. While higher risk occupations like service workers, manufacturing and construction have higher rates of work-related injuries, you can get hurt at work if you work in a grocery store or an office setting.
The National Safety Council estimates that every 7 seconds, an employee is injured while at work. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,834,500 recordable cases of non-fatal workplace-related injuries in 2018 with thousands of reported sprains and strains, back injuries, and slip and fall accidents.
Even while some of today’s workforce is working remotely, many essential workers continue to work in the public sector, where the risk of injury remains high.
How Workers’ Compensation Protects Essential Workers
If you’ve never been injured on the job, there’s a good chance that you haven’t thought much about workers’ compensation or what it does.
Workers’ comp varies slightly from state to state, but it’s intended to provide compensation for lost wages and medical expenses when an employee becomes injured or ill while on the job. When fatal work-related injuries occur, the immediate family receives compensation, which is also known as death benefits. While no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario of being fatally injured while at work, it’s important to know that your spouse and children will receive financial benefits.
Tips For Staying Safe at Work
As an essential worker, the risk of being injured or getting sick while at work may be higher due to the current pandemic. Here are some tips to help you stay safer:
- Follow all safety protocols in the workplace
- If your employer doesn’t provide proper safety gear, request some or see if you can wear your own
- Wash your hands and practice social distancing as much as possible
- Never go to work if you are feeling ill
- Use hand sanitizer when you’re unable to wash your hands
- Wash your clothing and shower when you get home to avoid spreading germs to your family
If you notice a potential safety or health hazard at work, don’t hesitate to speak up and alert your supervisor or someone in your human resources department. While it’s important for all individuals to take responsibility for their health and safety, you also should look out for others in your workplace.