How Does The Workers Compensation Act Apply to Blue-Collar Workers in Pennsylvania?
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that covers certain expenses for employees who are injured on the job. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act requires Pennsylvania employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage in case an employee suffers a workplace injury or illness.
Blue-collar workers often work in manufacturing, construction, agriculture, or mining. These jobs have higher rates of on-the-job injury than "white-collar" roles in office work and similar tasks. As a result, blue-collar workers are more likely to need the protection of workers' compensation during their careers.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers nearly all employees, including seasonal and part-time workers. If you’ve been injured on the job, an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Reasons Blue-Collar Workers May Need Workers’ Compensation
In 2020, the industries with the highest number of recorded injury cases in Pennsylvania included:
- Trade transportation and utilities; and
- Health care and social assistance.
In each industry, workers in blue-collar positions were more likely to experience injuries than workers in white-collar jobs. In transportation, for example, truckers and warehouse workers saw higher rates of injury than department store clerks. In construction, injury rates were highest among highway and bridge construction crews and plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors - workers who work hands-on with materials and equipment.
Deaths at work are higher among blue-collar workers as well. In 2020, Pennsylvania saw 148 workplace deaths, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thirty people died while working in the private construction industry. Twenty-five were killed in a workplace while working in transportation and warehousing.
In 2020, the most common causes of workplace deaths in the US and Pennsylvania were:
- Transportation incidents, such as truck crashes;
- Falls, slips, and trips;
- Contact with objects and equipment; and
- Exposure to harmful substances and environments.
Each of these situations can cause severe or fatal injury or illness. Blue-collar workers often work hands-on with equipment and materials, from cargo loaded into a truck to fluids spilled on the floor, heavy machinery, and various chemicals. These risks can cause serious harm.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers in Pennsylvania
Workers' compensation provides six different types of benefits. Each class covers another need or situation. Not all workers will need all six types.
Medical benefits are the most commonly-used benefits under workers' compensation. Medical benefits cover the medical costs of treatment for an on-the-job injury.
Benefits for lost wages apply if a worker is totally or partially disabled. These benefits help workers meet their household expenses when they can no longer earn money through labor.
Partial disability benefits cover workers who must take time off work, accept restricted job duties, or switch to a different job due to their injury. If an injury or illness worsens, total disability benefits may be a better fit for the injured person.
Total disability benefits apply when an injured worker cannot perform their job. Specific time limits apply, and these benefits may change over time as an injured person's condition improves.
Specific loss benefits apply to the permanent loss of particular body parts or permanent scarring or disfigurement of the head, neck, or face. A formula in the workers' compensation law determines the benefits a worker receives.
Death benefits are paid to the survivors of a worker who loses their life on the job.
To better understand how workers' compensation applies to your injury, speak to an experienced Erie workers' compensation lawyer today.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured On The Job
Report any workplace injury or illness to your employer. The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act requires workers to report injury-causing accidents within one hundred and twenty days of the injury. You must notify the injury within twenty-one days or three weeks, or your employer can withhold benefits until they receive notice.
If your claim is rejected, you have three years from the date of the accident or injury to appeal that rejection. Talk to an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as you can. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, our Erie workers' compensation lawyers are dedicated to helping injured workers secure the compensation they need after an injury or illness. To learn more, contact us today.