Ready or not, it’s back to school time in North Carolina! Teachers and other school employees are prepping for opening day. Dusting desks, making name tags, decorating the halls? School staffers, take our advice and go one step further — consider your own personal safety before the chaos rolls in.
The good news is that North Carolina Law requires the State of North Carolina to provide workers’ compensation coverage for all public school teachers, bus drivers, and other school employees. The bad news is that school workers often forget to watch out for workplace dangers and report their injuries under workers’ comp.
The attorneys at Ricci Law Firm represent school workers who are injured on the job or who develop diseases due to work. Here is a look at some common risks for school workers:
Sadly, violence in schools is increasingly pervasive. School employees may be exposed to physical violence to themselves or others, threats of personal harm, or even accidental contact due to fights on campus. Most school districts regularly train educators to screen for potential danger, so pay attention! Watch for unusual student conduct like excessive moodiness, withdrawal, or threats of harm to self or others. Staying vigilant may make the difference in your school.
Students are not the only ones under stress at school. Teachers, administrators, and staff often face an extremely fast-paced schedule and unpredictable events and situations. Couple that environment with angry students and parents, possible harassment or discrimination, or the possibility of witnessing a violent or scary event, and you’ve got trouble.
School employees should be aware of the impact of work-related events on their mental health. If a stress-related incident or series of incidents occur, school workers should report it as a worker’s compensation incident if it leads to psychological or physical symptoms such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, or sleeplessness. These symptoms may worsen with time, so the sooner the incident is reported as a workers-compensation incident, the better.
North Carolina schools should be safe for both students and workers. However, aging facilities and budget cuts may be exposing staff to dangers. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Fumes and odors
- Pests, insects, or rodents
- Moisture damage
- Mold or must
- Excessive dust or friable asbestos
In some cases, simply removing oneself from the contaminated area or hazard can reduce the risk of contracting disease. With prolonged exposure, however, basic clean up or removal is insufficient. If you believe you have been adversely affected by the school environment and have contracted a disease, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Ricci Law Firm.
Slips and Falls
Any workplace becomes more dangerous when folks rush around. But especially at school, the risks of slips and falls increases due to the sheer number of people in and out of the facility during the day, causing the risk of wet floors or debris. Plus, many school workers do not work in a traditional classroom – sports coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, resource officers. Even more so than teachers, those workers may be exposed to unexpected hazards that may lead to injury.
Students need healthy, happy teachers, principals, and staff. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm wish all school staffers a safe and productive school year.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh
I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Founder of the leading personal injury website: http://www.riccilawnc.com/personal-injury/