What Georgia textile workers need to know about their workers’ compensation benefits
Workers at textile plants and factories experience a much lower number of fatalities than in most industries. In some years, there are no fatalities at all. The average number of fatalities between 2014 and 2017 was 2, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, serious injuries are much more common. Three percent of textile workers reported an injury and 2 percent had to take some time off of work to recover.
One of the largest textile manufacturers in Georgia is Springfield Corporation. Other large textile manufacturers include Coyne Textile Service, Marla Mallett Textiles, Invista, Oxford Industries and Ten Cate Geosynthetics NA.
The textile industry supports all sorts of positions. Fabric menders repair materials. Textile machine setters set and operate the machines used to cut different fabrics. Tenders adjust the cutting methods of machines to the type of fabrics and garments they are cutting. They also adjust machine controls, heating and speed to produce a specific product.
Textile operators perform processing and manufacturing functions. This can include weaving, twisting, cutting, winding and knitting. Factories also need maintenance technicians to service textile machines. Textile engineers conduct experimental and theoretical research to support engineering projects.
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Common textile mill injuries
Workers at textile mills often stand for long periods of time. This can lead to swollen feet and legs, an inflammation of connective tissue known as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, varicose veins, lower back pain, neck and shoulder stiffness and a stretched Achilles tendon, also known as Achilles tendinitis.
Without safety standards in place, mill workers may get their fingers, hands and arms stuck in machinery. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns and even amputations.
Some workers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries as a result of repeatedly lifting, pulling and bending. Sudden movements can lead to sprains, strains and torn ligaments.
Synthetic and natural fibers produce dust that workers may continuously inhale if they are not provided with proper masks. Some materials may contain asbestos and can cause workers to develop a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.
Textile mills can also be loud and workers will need ear protection. Failure to provide protective gear can lead to hearing loss.
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Workers’ compensation for textile workers in Georgia
If you are injured while working at a textile mill, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries. Some workers believe that they are not qualified for benefits because their injuries are too mild; however, any injury that can prevent you from working will entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits.
After you have become injured at work, fill out a WC-14 form with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Then, inform your employer so they can report the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance provider.
If your injury requires medical attention, your employer must post a list of at least 6 authorized doctors who you can receive medical attention from. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will pay for authorized medical treatment.
In Georgia, you have 1 year after the accident to file a claim.
Benefits for injured workers
Your injury will generally be considered catastrophic or non-catastrophic. If you are suffering from a catastrophic injury, you will be entitled to vocational, medical and wage benefits under Georgia law. Injuries that are considered catastrophic include severe head and brain injuries, amputations, blindness, severe burns and spinal cord injury (paralysis). If your injuries prevent you from continuing to work, they will be considered catastrophic.
Even if you have not suffered a catastrophic injury, you will be entitled to wage benefits for up to 400 weeks or until you are no longer disabled.
Avoid these common workers’ compensation mistakes
There are several mistakes you can make that will jeopardize your benefits, the most common of which is failing to report your injuries properly. You must report only injuries that you suffered while at work or in the course of your employment, and you must use medical evidence to prove that your injuries resulted from workplace activities.
Never file false documents. Your employer or authorized medical provider may believe that you are not cooperating with them. You must perform any drug tests or medical examinations required by the authorized medical provider.
Your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance provider may do everything they can to deny your claim. Therefore, it’s vital to work with a lawyer who will make sure that you are following all of the necessary steps to have your claim approved. The last thing you want is the hassle of submitting paperwork while you are focused on recovering. A great lawyer will perform most or all of these tasks for you.
If you have a pre-existing condition, it may be used to deny your claim. A workers’ compensation attorney will help you prove that your pre-existing condition is not responsible for your current injuries. This is especially relevant in a textile job if your injuries developed over time. You may have to fight your employer’s claim that you were injured at a previous place of employment.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can benefit from the help of an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer near you.