When you think about workplace injuries and workers’ compensation cases, you probably picture slippery floors, lifting heavy boxes, or dangerous power tools. It’s no wonder that these images are the most pervasive—most people injured at work are injured in slip-and-falls and over-exertion injuries from lifting.

While your employer is probably actively trying to mitigate risks of that nature, new research shows that there are other risk factors that may have your employer even more concerned. It isn’t ladder safety or exposure to dangerous chemicals, either—these risks are risks that you live with every day and take home with you each evening.

Hidden Workers’ Compensation Risks That Keep Your Employer Up At Night

Your employer wants you to stay safe on the job, but safety concerns spread far beyond the workplace. Your lifestyle choices have always played a significant role in your healthcare costs and productivity, but now, employers are seeing a link between your wellbeing and your safety in the workplace.

What factors concern them most? The Risk and Insurance Management Society says they are the same things that concerns your doctor:

  • Smoking: Not only are smokers more likely to be injured at work, many cases have shown that injuries suffered during smoke breaks may be compensable.
  • Obesity: Not only do obese employees file more workers’ compensation claims, but the claims of these workers are generally much more expensive.
  • Diabetes treatment issues: Workers who do not comply with their diabetes treatments are not only at a higher risk of an accident, but minor injuries may quickly become much more serious and difficult to heal.

What can you expect as an employee as employers across the country become more focused on addressing these risks? For now, action will probably be limited to smoking-cessation programs and fitness initiatives. But if you are injured on the job, expect to see much more interest in your compliance with doctor’s orders regarding your health. One thing is for certain, though: no matter what your waistband size or smoking habits, you cannot be denied workers’ compensation for an eligible injury. If you have—you know who to call!

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer
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