Long Hours, Injured Employees and Workers’ Compensation
Local 10 News recently reported that U.S. nuclear plants will be allowed to keep workers on longer shifts to deal with staffing problems in the coronavirus pandemic. This change is understandably raising concerns by both watch groups and the families of these workers that employee exhaustion will increase the risks of accidents which, among other consequences, can lead to more workplace injuries. These shift extensions mean that workers would be allowed to work an additional 14 hours per week which equates to up to 86 hours in total in just a seven day period. That also means that workers could be assigned to 12-hour shifts for up to 14 days in a row.
The Problem With Working Long Hours
While you may initially think you feel “fine” while working extended hours, the reality is that the human body is only able to function at an optimal level for so long. Demanding work schedules may disrupt the body’s natural cycle and cause ongoing sleep interruptions that can affect a worker physically, mentally and emotionally and unfortunately increase the risk of being injured in the workplace. For example, research indicates that working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37 percent increased risk of injury. From causing fatigue to stress to prolonged exposure to workplace hazards like chemicals, working long hours can therefore lead to negative effects.
Am I Entitled to Medical Care Under Florida Law if I Become Injured?
Under Florida workers’ compensation law, any employee who is injured on the job while working in the scope of employment is generally entitled to the benefits of workers’ compensation and that includes workers who are working long hours. This includes compensation for the medical care that is deemed necessary to helping you recover. It can encompass a range of benefits such as emergency medical providers, specialists, physical therapists, and other treating physicians. These benefits can also include required prescriptions. Remember to be as honest and forthcoming as possible with your treating doctors so that they can accurately assess your injuries. In addition, don’t stop obtaining treatment until you are explicitly advised to do so by your medical professionals.
If you find yourself injured at work, ensure that you report the injury to your employer as soon as possible, obtain medical help, take pictures of your injuries and workplace environment and soon as you are able, and note any witnesses who were present at the time of the accident. These simple steps can later help you show that your claim is valid by demonstrating:
- That you have an actual injury incurred at work
- That you were currently employed at the time of the injury
- That the injury was caused or aggravated by something work-related
Allow Us to Help Following Your Workplace Injury
If you or someone you love has been injured while working, you will probably need to obtain the help of an experienced legal team as early as possible in order to help you maximize the benefits you may deserve. As the Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer & Associates, we have significant experience helping people like you and we can advocate for you and ensure you recover the compensation you are entitled to while you focus on recovering your health. Begin by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation.