Workers' compensation benefits could cover psychological injuries

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has strict regulations related to working at heights, and compliance can save many lives. Many workers' compensation claims are filed each year by fall accident victims that were not wearing fall harnesses. A securely anchored safety harness can arrest a fall before the victim strikes a lower level, and providing the worker is not left suspended for too long, he or she might walk away unscathed.

The efficiency of a fall protection harness was recently demonstrated in Anaheim at the Disneyland "It's A Small World" ride. Reportedly, rescue workers from the fire department rushed to the entertainment facility in the early morning hours of a recent Friday. They responded to a call about a worker who had fallen from an elevated level after slipping.

Fortunately, the worker was wearing the necessary personal protective gear, including a fall harness that saved his life. After dropping about six feet, the equipment arrested his fall, leaving him suspended about 20 feet above the ground. He was also fortunate to be removed by rescue workers before he could suffer suspension trauma, which typically sets in within minutes after the fall and could be fatal.

While this worker suffered no physical injuries during the fall, the shock and emotional trauma of such a near-miss incident could cause long-term psychological problems in a fall victim. It could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, and jeopardize the worker's ability to perform regular tasks. California workers who suffer physical or psychological injuries might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Obtaining benefits for some nonphysical injuries might be challenging, and the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help to secure the financial assistance to which the injured worker is entitled.

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