Common workplace injuries teachers face
Although it’s not a profession that involves significant manual labor, teaching still comes with its fair share of risks of workplace injuries. If you are a teacher, you need to know about the specific hazards you may face on the job and what rights you may have to obtain financial compensation and benefits to recover from your injuries.
Common Occupational Hazards for Teachers
Some of the biggest occupational injury hazards that teachers can face include:
- Repetitive stress injuries, which can be caused by spending hours writing on chalkboards, typing on the computer, or grading papers, as well as standing or sitting for extended periods of time.
- Slip or trip and fall hazards, including from untreated outdoor spaces in the winter, from spilled or leaked liquids or foods, or from student backpacks left on the ground.
- Toxic exposure, including from asbestos or lead-containing materials in older school buildings, mold buildup from inadequate maintenance, or from improper storage of hazardous chemicals.
Special Workplace Hazards
Unfortunately, teachers also face other workplace hazards that are unique to schools. For example, teachers can be injured during school violence, including when trying to break up fights between students, or from being attacked directly by students. Special education teachers are particularly at risk of injury when they work with students with severe emotional and behavioral issues. Teachers can also be injured by school shootings, which may be done by students or by violent individuals who trespass onto school property.
Depending on the subject being taught by a teacher, teachers can also face special hazards, such as:
- Athletic coaches and physical education teachers, who are at greater risk of sports injuries
- Chemistry teachers, who may be injured while working with hazardous chemicals or bunsen burners
- Drivers’ education teachers, who face the risk of injury from motor vehicle accidents
- Shop or home economics teachers, who may be injured by appliances, equipment, and tools
Schools can help reduce the risks of these hazards by:
- Adopting security procedures such as hiring resource officers, requiring ID badges and visitor sign-ins, and practicing lockdowns and evacuations
- Having appropriate safety equipment in science, home-ec, and shop classrooms
- Keeping hazardous chemicals locked away when not in use
- Performing adequate maintenance of the school grounds, including removal of mold or removal of lead- or asbestos-containing building materials
Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for an On-the-Job Injury
If you are a teacher who was injured in the course of your job duties, you may be entitled to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits by filing a claim with your employer as soon as possible after an injury. Workers’ Compensation benefits may include:
- Payment for all necessary medical treatment
- Temporary disability benefits, which offer partial wage replacement when you miss time from work
- Permanent partial disability benefits, which include financial payments based on the type and degree of a partial permanent loss of use of a body part, if you can still return to work with the disability
- Permanent total disability benefits, which continues wage replacement so long as you remain unable to return to the workforce due to your injuries.
Contact a Clark Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are required to provide you with medical treatment, replacement pay for missed time at work, and partial or total disability payments depending on the nature and extent of your permanent injuries, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a highly experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Team Law represent clients in Paterson, Elizabeth, Clifton, Trenton, and all across New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 136 Central Avenue, Clark, NJ 07066, and we also have offices in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.