The Bollinger Law Firm, PC

Disabled workers more likely to be hurt on the job

Sometimes employers neglect to create a safe working environment for disabled workers. Unfortunately, this has led to the workplace injury rate for disabled workers to be approximately three times that of non-disabled workers.

The study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in conjunction with Ohio State University found the injury rate for non-disabled workers was 2.3 per 100 employees, compared to 6.0 per 100 disabled workers. Given these statistics, North Carolina employers may want to consider adopting worker safety policies to accommodate their entire workforce.

The study also found that the non-occupational injury rate for disabled workers was significantly higher than that of their non-disabled counterparts-16.4 per 100 workers, compared to 6.4. The study collected data from the National Health Interview Survey between 2006 and 2010. Interviews were conducted with the help of computers about injuries occurring three months before the interview took place. The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the study's findings, the leading causes of workplace injury were transportation related and fall injuries. Researchers suggest that better accommodations and safe working environments will benefit the whole workforce. Reducing the occurrence of these accidents is in everyone's best interest-employees and employers alike.

The study's co-author also suggests implementing outreach programs to teach disabled workers about health and occupational skills, claiming such safety programs may reduce the incidence of workplace injuries.

North Carolina workers injured on the job should consider filing a timely workers' compensation claim. Often, injuries require medical attention and compensation recovered may cover their medical expenses and wage replacement if time is taken off from work.

Source: EHS Today, "Disabled Workers Experience Higher Rates of Occupational Injuries," Laura Walter, Aug. 10, 2012

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