Getting hurt on the job has a number of consequences. The first, obviously, is the physical difficulty that comes with an injury. You may require medical Intervention, which can prove to be quite expensive. One thing people don't often consider initially when dealing with a workplace injury is how it can affect their career.
It is possible for a workplace injury to be so severe that it keeps you from performing the same job safely. This is true even of very common conditions, such as repetitive motion injuries.
People often think of repetitive motion injuries as less serious than sudden, traumatic injuries. However, repetitive motion injuries can be incredibly painful and debilitating. They can also keep you from returning to the same line of work indefinitely.
What causes repetitive motion injuries?
A repetitive motion injury is exactly what it sounds like. It is a serious physical malady related to performing the same motion or task over and over. People in all sorts of jobs experience repetitive motion, from typists and truck drivers to manufacturing and retail workers.
Whether the repetitive motion is moving a component through a machine in a factory or typing, performing that same task for hours every day over many months or years can do damage to your body. Repetitive motion can cause serious harm to your joints by wearing on them. It can also cause issues with your muscles and bones, especially if you don't utilize ergonomic workplace accommodations.
Issues ranging from carpal tunnel to severe back injuries can result from repetitive motion. Typically, these injuries require rest and physical therapy for the patient to fully heal. In some situations, surgery may be necessary. Medical professionals may also advise the injured worker that they cannot resume the same tasks after they receive treatment. That can have a profound impact on someone's career.
It is not always possible for an employer to change your job duties
In general, your employer should do their best to accommodate you after a workplace injury. In some cases, employers are able to assign injured workers to a new station or position, allowing them to remain with the company without aggravating or worsening their repetitive motion injury. However, some companies simply do not have that flexibility.
Employers may not be able to offer full-time work that will not worsen a repetitive motion injury. In that situation, the worker may need to seek new employment or may qualify for temporary or permanent disability.
Many factors will impact what workers' compensation benefits you qualify for with a repetitive motion injury. Each case is as unique as the worker filing it. It is important that you receive adequate guidance about your rights in order to make the best decision for yourself and your financial security after developing a repetitive motion injury.