Knee, Ankle, and Foot injuries are common due to the reality that we all walk on surfaces that may contain liquids or other obstructions that can cause slips, trips, or falls (STF). Accidents that can alter your well-being and your lifestyle occur frequently when performing different work-related tasks. Employees suffering from a work-related injury have the ability to seek immediate medical attention and may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Knee, ankle, and foot injuries may temporarily or permanently affect your lifestyle. Workers’ compensations laws provide temporary and permanent benefits to employees who suffer a job-related injury. Some of the common types of knee, ankle, and foot injuries are:
- Strains and sprains which occur when the soft tissue is damaged
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tear
- Damaged or broken bones
- Meniscus tear which occurs when the knee is bent in an unnatural movement
Knee, ankle, and foot injuries are common when people slip or fall which causes you to bend and strain your muscle and soft tissues. In many cases, your employer is obligated to provide workers’ compensation benefits if you fracture or damage your knee, ankle, or foot. While you recover from your injury you may return to work and request reasonable accommodations for your temporary or permanent disability.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) has established work related regulations so that employees maintain a safe working environment. Under OSHA employers are required to train their employees to keep a hazardous free working environment and ensure that OSHA policies are followed and enforced. OSHA states that slips, trips, and falls, (STF) result in work-related deaths or injuries and these injuries make up a large majority of all accidents in the general industry. OSHA has established specific regulations that aim to prevent STF injuries at the workplace. Failing to follow these regulations is a violation of the safe workplace laws that guide OSHA.
If your knee, ankle, and foot injury is a result of a slip, a car accident, or due to equipment malfunction or other work-related factors, you are entitled to compensations and other accommodations under California state law. If you become disabled as a result of your work-related injury, you are capable of claiming medical benefits that will cover your medical costs and disability benefits which provide wage coverage of up to 2/3rds of your weekly pay.
Workers who suffer a knee, ankle, and foot injury are protected under the law to receive immediate medical attention before a workers’ compensation claim is processed. To learn more about your rights as an employee with temporary or permanent health conditions, please contact Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney at 949-423-3212.
We are ready to handle your case with a high level of attention, providing legal guidance through every step of your claim.
OSHA and Slips, Trips, and Falls (STF)
Slips, trips, and falls (STF) have been known to cause damage to the lower body often times spraining, dislocating, or fracturing the knees, ankles, and feet. From 1996 to 2005, there were 472 STF injury workers’ compensations claims and out of the total, 185 of the injuries occurred to the lower body. An STF can cause a severe injury to the knees, ankles, and feet, affecting the employee's mechanical movement abilities. In addition, an STF can cause other injuries to different parts of the body which can contribute to a longer recovery period or additional medical costs.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is under the same government branch that created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. NIOSH claims that the leading cause of STF injuries is due to objects or liquids on the floor that goes uncleaned or untreated. Slippery surfaces caused by oils, water, or other liquids can cause you to suffer an STF related injury. NIOSH establishes that slips, trips, and falls at the workplace can be prevented by following a STF prevention program. NIOSH discovered that STF injury workers’ compensation claims reduced dramatically in hospitals after an STF program was put in place.
NIOSH Safety Program
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established certain regulations and guidelines so that employers can help prevent knee, ankle, and feet injuries at the workplace.
- Employers are encouraged to create a maintenance program so that floors and other walking surfaces are slip and trip resistant. The program should include when and where there needs to be a regular cleaning, when to use wet floor signs, and provide the most efficient method to clean up a spill or other obstructions on a walking surface.
- Employers should keep all walking surfaces clean and dry to prevent slipping or tripping. Employers are encouraged to place walking mats on entrances and passageways so that footwear can remain dry and slip resistant. In addition, an employer should provide awareness posters and documents so that employees are aware of slippery surfaces and understand how to handle dangerous situations.
- Employers should provide their employees with the right working gear to work on slippery surfaces. If you're constantly working on wet surfaces, you should be required to wear slip-resistant shoes. Slip-resistant shoes are used in every industry including construction, hospitals, and the food industry.
- Employers should close off areas to employees and other people from entering an environment that is wet or slippery. Employers should block off areas while the cleaning management team is cleaning or waxing the floors. In addition, all physical barriers must be removed after the cleaning is done so that they do not cause a work-related trip.
Under NIOSH and OSHA, your employer has the legal obligation to provide a safe working environment. Following the NIOSH and OSHA safety programs can help reduce the number of slip, trip, and fall (STF) related injuries.
To learn more about NIOSH and their safety program please visit the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-123/pdfs/2011-123.pdf
OSHA Safety and Workplace Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a wide array of laws that attempt to govern the workplace, ensuring that all employees are working in a safe environment free from life-threatening conditions. Under OSHA law, employers must provide and enforce workplace and safety regulations that aim to reduce workplace hazards. An employer is responsible for any work-related injuries that result from the violation of a safety regulation. OSHA describes many ways in which an employer can reduce hazardous conditions and maintain a safe working environment for all employees and people within a nursing facility.
Under OSHA regulations there are certain obligations that employers must commit to under California State law. The following are regulations that are aimed at reducing the number of work-related injuries or deaths.
- Employers have the obligation to train employees to identify toxic chemicals and provide training on how to handle a toxic chemical while at work. In addition, the employer must provide safety equipment for employees handling toxic chemicals.
- Employers must provide training to all individuals in the workplace to ensure that all employees know how to perform their job duties and to ensure that they understand and follow the safety regulations.
- Employers cannot discriminate or harass employees who call for an OSHA inspection. If an employer fails to provide a safe working environment, employees are entitled to call OSHA for an inspection
- Employers must provide all employers with the appropriate safety equipment that is required for their specific task
- Employers are required to maintain machinery and provide regular safety inspections to all machinery that is operated by an employee
The following are rights that belong to all employees in the workplace under federal law:
- The employee has the right to work with safe machines that are tested for any malfunctions.
- The employee has the right to safety equipment that provides physical protection such as gloves, eyewear, or other support gear that might be needed to perform the job duties.
- The employee has the right to request an OSHA safety inspection if he or she believes the workplace is violating safety regulations.
- The employee has the right to learn about the outcome of an OSHA inspection
- The employee has the right to be trained to perform the job-related tasks in his or her preferred language.
- The employee has the right to work in a place free from toxic chemicals that can cause severe damage.
- The employee has the right to process a workers’ compensation claim and receive medical records when needed
These regulations are guiding principles for all work environments in the United States. Any injury that is a result of a violation of the regulations established by OSHA or NIOSH may be reason enough to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or other insurance benefits.
Violating the regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and NIOSH can lead to a work-related injury that is covered by the State workers’ compensations benefits. If you are performing a work-related task while at work or off the job site and you suffer an injury to your knee, ankle, or foot, you are entitled to receive medical coverage and disability benefits to allow you financial stability during your recovery. Workers’ compensation laws ensure that injured employees receive worker’s compensation benefits without having to file a claim against your employer.
Under workers’ compensation laws, employees are provided with an insurance that covers their injuries while it protects him or her and the employer from a lawsuit. Workers’ compensation no-fault system establishes that the employee does not need to prove liability in order to receive a form of compensation. If you were performing a task within your scope of employment you should qualify for workers’ compensation insurance. The workers' compensation laws prioritize the health and recovery of the employee so that he or she receive the financial and medical attention they need.
If you suffer an STF injury that has damaged your knee, ankle, or foot on any degree, you may be entitled to additional benefits aside from workers’ compensation. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are obligated to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations so that they can perform and move around the working facility with reduced stress.
Fair Employment and Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act
Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers cannot discriminate against employees with a disability. Rather employers have the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations unless the accommodations are financially impractical and would cause instability to the business.
If you suffer from a disability that impedes your movement or other essential abilities like seeing, feeling, or hearing etc, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations provided by your employer. Some of the accommodations include:
- Time off from work so that the employee can visit a medical center when needed
- Breaks from work during working hours to ensure employees can take some time to relieve mental and physical stress
- Job training to disabled employees may perform a different less stressful task
- Aid from different technologies that aim to relieve physical and mental stress
- Allowing employees to set their working hours so that their recovery schedule and work schedule can coexist
If you suffer a work-related injury that has left you temporarily or permanently disabled, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and reasonable accommodations at the workplace. Disabled and injured employees have certain coverages that will facilitate their difficult situation. Under State law, employers are obligated to fulfill the requests of disabled or injured employees so that they can receive their benefits when they are needed.
The Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys are ready to help you claim your benefits in a court of law if your employer denies any of your lawfully given rights. We are here to help you through your filing case and provide guidance so that your rights are not violated in any way.
To learn more about the regulations and laws that guide workers’ compensation, OSHA, and NIOSH, please contact our offices at 949-423-3212 or you may visit our office at 949-423-3212. We are ready to hear your case and provide reliable legal advice.