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Workplace injuries result in huge costs

While improvements in health and safety practices have led to fewer workplace accidents than there were two decades ago, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 3 million on the job injuries and illnesses result every year in the private sector alone. Workers and companies in Texas and the rest of the country all suffer as work-related incidents cost taxpayers and companies around $250 billion per year.

Research conducted by a professor at the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research at University of California, Davis showed that worker's compensation covers less than 25 percent of costs for the $250 billion that workplace accidents amount to. Most costs were indirect while $67 billion went to direct costs like medical expenses, and one-third of cases involved workers who contracted on the job illnesses.

Many workplaces still contain hazards that those outside of the industry might not expect. For example, those in the health-care field frequently face injuries due to lifting patients. Even jobs that do not require strenuous manual labor can result in injuries as many workers develop conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome after spending long hours working on the computer. Injuries like this account for one-third of all cases where employees had to take time away from work, and it took workers an average of 11 days to recover in these cases while all other cases had a median recovery time of eight days.

There are a variety of ways an on-the-job injury can occur, and some injuries and illnesses develop over time. When suffering from any kind of work-related injury or illness, one may be entitled to workers' compensation so that an employee can receive treatment for the problem. If something serious occurs, one may also be entitled to temporary or permanent benefits while unable to work.

Source: MarketWatch, "Work is a dangerous place for millions of Americans," Quentin Fottrell, March 21, 2015

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