Not only do injuries in the workplace frighten the affected employees, but management, coworkers, and HR are also impacted when something goes wrong. This Halloween is a great opportunity to re-assess workplace safety, especially if you are holding any special events to celebrate the holiday season. A bit of proactive safety can go a long way to prevent injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims.
Even if the injury happens off-site but the employee was at the event at the request of their employer (such as a holiday party), it can still be considered a work-related injury – which means that compensation might be available through Workers’ Compensation.
How Does the Workplace Change on Halloween?
It’s fun to dress in costumes, and it’s easy to see why people of all ages love Halloween. Whether you are planning a party at work or simply hanging up a few decorations, there is an increased risk of injury. Whenever employees are doing activities that are different from their regular job duties, use extra caution to prevent injuries.
In most workplaces, Halloween is a more relaxed workday. Team members might bring treats to share, talk with coworkers, spend more time in the breakroom, and even dress in costumes. Sometimes, employers plan games or holiday-themed activities, such as costume contests. These activities are not only fun, but they can be a great way to boost the morale of team members.
Beware of These Potential Halloween Injuries
Even though Halloween seems like a safe holiday overall, especially when you are in the office, a few common workplace injuries can happen. Watch out for unexpected injuries such as:
- Knife Wounds and Cuts: Pumpkin carving can be a great tradition, but there is a potential risk of cuts and wounds when people are carving their jack-o-lanterns. In fact, pumpkin carving accounts for an estimated 44% of Halloween injuries. Avoid pumpkin carving contests and plan to paint the pumpkins as an alternative.
- Allergy-Free Foods: If you plan to share treats or a meal on Halloween, make sure to have everything clearly marked and offer allergy-free solutions. For example, avoid serving anything with nuts and choose candy that is individually wrapped to avoid cross-contamination.
- No Lit Candles: Even though candles add a spooky ambiance to the decorations, the open flames can be a fire hazard. If you want to set up candles, then choose battery-operated candles instead. Let employees know that open flames are banned due to fire and safety codes.
- Drinking On Site: The use of alcohol often increases the potential of an injury or problem. Instead of serving alcoholic drinks at the Halloween party, fill the cooler with soda and non-alcoholic alternatives.
- Games and Activities: Look for low-impact activities and games, such as Bingo, costume contests, small crafts, etc. If higher-energy games are happening, ensure everyone is well-supervised during these activities.
- Office Decorations: Use caution when employees are hanging up holiday decorations. Ensure the right tools are used – such as pulling out a step ladder instead of standing on an office chair.
- Costume Rules: Not only should you have costume rules to prevent trips and falls, but also ensure that costumes aren’t going to be offensive to other employees. Costumes should adhere to safety rules, especially when employees are working with heavy machinery or on a manufacturing floor.
You don’t need to prohibit these activities during the in-office Halloween party. Instead, be proactive about implementing a few extra workplace safety tips to protect your staff members.
Things to Know about Workers’ Compensation Claims
When an injury happens in the workplace, the employee will likely file a Workers’ Compensation claim to access available payouts for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Most Workers’ Compensation claims are filed by employees in high-risk environments, such as public transportation, food safety, construction, and emergency medical services. But there is also a risk of workplace injuries in office environments and other places that seem to be safe.
Workers are protected by law and deserve the right to safe working conditions. If anything violates safety, then workers have the option to file a complaint with OSHA. In order for a Workers’ Compensation claim to be filed, the injury must occur during normal working hours and as part of the person’s normal course of employment.
The injured employee should notify their employer about the injury as soon as possible. There is a limited window of time to notify the employer and no reason to delay this reporting. For example, in the state of Louisiana, the injury must be reported within 30 days, or the injured employee might lose the opportunity to file for compensation.
Before an employee can return to work, a doctor must release the person. Sometimes, the injured employee might start with light-duty activities until they can resume their normal job duties once again.
Always Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your Claim
While it’s possible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim on your own, you might be leaving money on the table if you don’t get help from an experienced personal injury attorney. Also, there are times when the claims are denied because there isn’t enough information or proof showing that the injury is work-related.
It’s important to build the case, establish liability, and document how the injuries have impacted your life. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the best way to proceed, helping you maximize available payouts. Your Workers’ Compensation claim might request compensation for a variety of things, including:
- Medical bills, including costs for emergency services, ongoing treatments, physical therapy, and more.
- Lost wages if the person was unable to work as a result of the injury.
- Travel reimbursement for the cost of mileage to access necessary medical care.
- Death benefits can be paid to surviving family members through Workers’ Compensation.
For more information about filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, contact our expert team at Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. Call at your convenience to schedule a consultation: (504) 522-2304.