When you get hurt in the workplace, unfortunately some coworkers might not take your injury seriously. Their skepticism could have consequences for you ranging from inadequate medical care access to difficulty working within your doctor-imposed restrictions.
Why Wouldn’t Coworkers Take an Injury Seriously?
Depending on the workplace and the injury, coworkers might have a variety of reasons for doubting that you are injured or questioning how serious the injury is. For example, they simply may not have seen you get injured. You might have been hurt offsite or have an “invisible” injury such as lung damage.
Alternatively, your coworkers might think that you need to toughen up and work through your injury. You may not seem hurt to them, or they may not understand that you are in pain. This may be more common in physically active workplaces where people often get minor injuries such as cuts or scrapes that only need first aid.
Coping with Your Injury in the Workplace
To cope with your injury when coworkers downplay it, you can employ several strategies. First, you may need to tell your coworkers directly that you have a serious injury and are in pain, if you feel comfortable doing so. Let them know if you have medical restrictions or special needs after the injury. Also, make sure you report your injury to someone in charge, such as a manager or Human Resources, so that you can get workers’ compensation.
You might also need to talk to your manager about better accommodations. Your employer should be accommodating any restrictions that you have, within reason. If coworkers are preventing you from accessing accommodations, that is something your manager needs to know. You might even need a transfer to a different jobsite or different assignments to help you stay within your medical restrictions.
Educating your coworkers about safety in the workplace could help them understand how to behave around injured coworkers. Maybe your injury resulted from lax safety practices or dangerous conditions. You could talk to MNOSHA, speak to your manager or H.R., or otherwise try to improve workplace safety.
Finally, ensure that you have all the workers’ compensation benefits that you need. You can receive medical treatment paid by the insurance company, wage loss benefits, and even vocational rehabilitation help if you need to change jobs or find a new one.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.