Injuries from poorly designed workspaces can cost employees priceless workdays. They can also disrupt your life outside of work. Anyone in the workforce should be aware of the possibility of injuries from poorly designed workspaces. Our Nevada workers’ compensation attorneys explain your rights when it comes to workplace ergonomic injuries.

Poorly Designed Workspaces Can Cause Injuries

Injuries from poorly designed workspaces are called ergonomic injuries. Ergonomics in the workplace ensure that the worker’s daily, repetitive tasks don’t result in physical harm. While some workplace injuries occur in the blink of an eye, others can happen from the strain of doing tasks over and over again. Too often, these injuries are the result of a poorly designed workspace. Office ergonomics can cause or prevent injuries from poorly designed workspaces.

Woman struggling with back issues from a poor workstation

Can Repetitive Movements at Work Lead to Injuries?

Yes, repetitive movements at work can lead to injuries. The body cannot always handle repetitive tasks. These movements may combine to place more strain on the body than it can sustain without damage. The body may be able to recover from an activity done once. However, repeating the movement may place added strain on the body. These repetitive movements can lead to injury when the body does not have time to heal.

Examples of Ergonomic Injuries

Here are some examples of ergonomic injuries from poorly designed workspaces:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Back strains and pain
  • Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Shoulder pain and limitation of movement
  • Neck stiffness and sharp pain
  • Knee pain
  • Skin rash or itching

Some employees may not realize that poor ergonomics could be the culprit for their pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, repetitive motions at work can result in these types of injuries or make them worse.

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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Yes, repetitive strain injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. As long as the injury occurs from repeated movements from a poorly designed workspace or other tasks, the worker can receive financial payment through the workers’ compensation system. The terminology for a repetitive strain injury is an ergonomic injury or an occupational disease.

Nevada Law for Injuries From Poorly Designed Workspaces

Nevada law for injuries from poorly designed workspaces comes from the Nevada Occupational Disease Act. Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 617 [1] classifies chronic injuries from poorly designed workspaces as occupational diseases. It’s a distinct classification from injuries that occur in a single event like a sudden injury [2]. Chronic injuries that arise because of ergonomic design fall under the category of occupational illness.

Office providing ergonomic workstations
Office providing ergonomic workstations

Under Nevada law, a victim can receive compensation through the workers’ compensation system for a chronic injury that occurs because of ergonomic hazards. The compensation can cover the cost of treatment, lost work and payment for loss of use. The process of receiving compensation for a chronic injury is much like the process of claiming compensation because of an acute injury.

Nevada Workers’ Compensation for Chronic Ergonomic Injuries

Workers’ compensation for chronic ergonomic injuries begins with notifying the employer of the injury. Of course, because ergonomic injuries tend to develop over time, workers may not be aware of their injuries until some time after it develops.

The worker must report the injury within a certain amount of time after they have knowledge of the injury or they become aware of the relationship between the injury and their work. Nevada Revised Statutes 617.342 [3]creates a time frame for providing notice to the employer of an ergonomic injury from a poorly designed workspace.

Here are a few other requirements for providing notice of ergonomic injuries:

  • The notice must be in writing. An oral report is not enough.
  • There is a particular form to use to make the report.
  • An employee or their designee must sign the report.

Symptoms of Injuries From Poorly Designed Workspaces

Here are some symptoms of injuries from ergonomic hazards of poorly designed workspaces:

  • Pain
  • Dull aches
  • Throbbing pain
  • Numbness; loss of feeling
  • Poor coordination
  • Inability to maintain movement
  • Joint cracking
  • Fatigue
  • Less strength
  • Decrease in range of motion; less flexibility
  • Skin conditions; itching, swelling

Legal Issues for Reporting Injuries From Poorly Designed Workspaces

There are a few common legal issues for reporting injuries from poorly designed workspaces. First, there is the challenge of identifying the injury and reporting it within the acceptable period of time. An employee shouldn’t hesitate to make the report as soon as they know that they have an injury and that their poorly designed workspace caused it.

It’s the responsibility of the employee to prove that the injury happened because of work. Of course, in the case of a poorly designed workspace, this isn’t always a straightforward task. For example, a worker might spend their day typing on a computer. They might develop carpal tunnel syndrome. However, the person might also spend time typing or scrolling on a phone at home. The employer might try and challenge the fact that the job is workplace-related.

However, there are things that the worker can do to prove their case. They can enlist the right medical experts to verify that the injury is work-related. These experts can speak to the person’s specific injuries and provide insight into how the injuries occurred because of their work tasks. This information can mean the difference between deserved compensation and no compensation at all. An attorney for ergonomic injuries workers’ compensation can help the injured worker gather this kind of evidence.

Addressing Poorly Designed Workspaces – OSHA Ergonomic Requirements

An employer has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe place to work. That means being proactive and addressing conditions that may lead to injuries. An employer must address any situation that poses an unreasonable risk of injury or death. Suppose you suspect that a poorly designed workspace could lead to harm. In that case, it’s essential to do everything you can to address the issue, including making internal ethics reports, human resources reports and OSHA complaints.

Amazing ergonomic workstation with treadmill desk

If you suspect an injury from a poorly designed workspace, your time to file a claim for compensation is limited. It’s important to make a written report to your employer as soon as possible. Your attorney for ergonomic workers’ compensation injuries can help you document your injuries and prove the relationship to your work environment. Contact our attorneys today to begin your case.

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Sources:

[1] NRS 617

[2] NRS 616A

[3] NRS 617.342