Unfortunately, an injury-free workplace does not exist. Some jobs put you more at risk for injuries than others. As you can imagine, blue-collar jobs tend to be riskier than white-collar jobs.
Sometimes, a blue-collar worker sustains minor injuries, but other times, they can be severely injured.
You need an experienced Texas workers’ compensation attorney to review your case and ensure you get the right benefits. Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., to file your worker’s compensation claim.
What Is Blue Collar Work?
What are blue-collar jobs? Blue-collar work refers to employment where individuals perform physical work.
The jobs often involve strenuous labor, long hours on the clock, and duties that include working with machinery or performing manual tasks.
Blue-collar jobs include the following:
- Construction worker,
- Police officer,
- Power plant worker,
- Maintenance worker,
- Welder, and
And in case you were wondering about its origin, the term “blue-collar” originated from the blue uniforms workers employed in these jobs usually wore.
What Injuries Does a Blue-Collar Worker Need to Watch Out for in Texas?
If you’ve been injured at work, contact The Zimmerman Law Firm.
We will look into the facts of your case and determine the best course of action. Let’s look at some common accidents blue-collar workers face.
Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Some jobs require you to drive as part of your work duties. Suppose you are driving as part of your job and get injured. That injury would be considered a workplace injury that might qualify you for workers’ compensation.
For example, assume a worker must drive a cement truck back and forth between construction sites. If they are injured in an accident while driving, the injuries would likely be covered under workers’ comp.
Workers are at risk for muscle strains because of the physically demanding nature of many blue-collar jobs.
Muscle strains can be caused by various actions, such as lifting heavy objects or doing the same movement repeatedly. Symptoms of a muscle strain include pain, redness, bruising, swelling, and limited motion.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls in the workplace are very common and often result in the victim getting workers’ compensation while they heal. Common causes for slip and fall cases include the following:
- Poorly constructed platforms,
- Loose scaffold, and
- Slippery or icy floor.
Depending on the particulars of the incident, a slip and fall can leave you with a concussion, bruises, or broken bones. A fall may be more severe if the worker loses their footing and falls off something. The higher the fall, the more debilitating the injuries could be.
The hallmark of many blue-collar jobs is that they are physically demanding. Blue-collar workers must continually perform tasks that require stamina and strength.
Overexertion is caused when a person pushes their body too much physically. Industries where overexertion injuries are the most common include the trade, transportation, service, and utility industries.
Blue-collar jobs often involve the need for training, especially on specialized equipment specific to the job. If workers are not properly trained, or if machinery malfunctions and causes a blast or explosion, employees can get burned.
Depending on the situation, workers could face minor or severe burns. The more severe, the longer the healing process and the longer you might need before you can return to work.
An electrical injury may also be called an electric shock. Many blue-collar workers, especially utility and construction workers, are at risk of sustaining an electric shock. The electrical circuits must be improperly maintained, or machinery can short circuit.
An electric shock can cause symptoms such as the following:
- Loss of consciousness,
- Muscle spasms,
- Numbness or tingling,
- Breathing problems,
- Problems with hearing and vision,
- Seizures, and
- Irregular heartbeat.
If severe enough, an electrical injury can cause death.
Hit by an Object or Debris
Workplaces are busy places where there’s often a lot of equipment and even falling debris.
When objects or debris fall, they can injure workers in a variety of ways—such as scrapes or broken arms. If hit on the head, the worker could suffer a concussion.
Statistics of Blue-Collar Worker Injuries and Deaths
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, Texas had 533 fatal injuries in the workplace. Over 60% of these fatalities are people between 35 to 64 years old, and 90% of them are men. The industries with the most fatalities include the following:
- Trade, transportation, and utilities with 179 fatalities;
- Transportation and warehousing with 138 fatalities; and
- Construction with 127 fatalities.
There are more fatal injuries in blue-collar jobs than in white-collar jobs. Other industries, such as finance and education, had significantly fewer fatalities.
Of course, not all workplace injuries are fatal—and in 2022, Texas had 178,800 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Texas?
If you have sustained injuries at work, you may be entitled to Texas workers’ compensation benefits. Texas has a different workers’ comp system than other states.
Other states make it mandatory for employers to get workers’ comp insurance, but Texas does not. So if your employer does not subscribe to workers’ comp insurance, the process for getting compensation changes.
You can file a workers’ comp claim if your employer subscribes to a workers’ compensation plan. Therefore, if you suffer a workplace injury, you could file a workers’ compensation form with the Texas Department of Insurance.
Your employer is called a nonsubscriber if they do not subscribe to a workers’ compensation plan. You cannot file a workers’ compensation claim if your employer does not subscribe.
Nonsubscriber employers sometimes carry their own insurance plans that cover a workplace injury. If so, you may be able to file a claim with that insurance company.
Alternatively, you can recover compensation by filing a negligence claim against your employer. To succeed, you must prove the following:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care;
- Your employer breached their duty of care;
- The breach was the cause of your injuries; and
- You suffered harm as a result.
One example of such negligence would be if your employer failed to provide proper training. Another example is if your employer fails to maintain machinery properly.
Injured at the Workplace? Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm Today
Don’t try to handle Texas workers’ compensation laws alone. Have a free consultation with one of our seasoned workers’ comp lawyers.
The Zimmerman Law Firm has operated for over 60 years, and our legal team is ready to help you recover compensation for your workplace injuries. If you have suffered an injury while on the job, call The Zimmerman Law Firm today or email us online. We can help.