Working Outside Your Comfort Zone

Ever been pushed outside your comfort zone?

Sometimes, getting pushed outside a comfort zone is a good thing. We take off the training wheels from our daughter’s bike. We force our tween to attend the school dance. We make our meat-and-potatoes husband try sushi. We shove our timid friend onto the karaoke stage. Moving outside a comfort zone often opens worlds of possibilities and builds confidence.

Trying new things is great… but BEWARE when it happens in the workplace! Workers in North Carolina often receive training and testing before handling dangerous equipment, using heavy machinery, or performing highly-skilled work – all for good reason. As the workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers know all too well, the number of work-related injuries in North Carolina due to inadequate training is staggering. Injuries and even deaths may be more likely to occur when a worker is not performing his or her normal job, like in the following situations:

  • A boss asks an employee to cover for a sick or absent co-worker
  • Workers must use a replacement machine or tool when another one breaks
  • An emergency like a storm or robbery causes the need for clean-up and repair
  • An unusually heavy or different shipment arrives and needs to be moved
  • A busy season or day causes employees to overlap shifts and jobs
  • A tight deadline means longer hours or different tasks than usual
  • A new manager mistakenly assigns an employee to the wrong place or job

The reasons for the increased risk of injury in the above situations is obvious; lack of training or proper equipment, combined with a rush or urgency, increase the chance that necessary safety steps will not be followed.

So why do workers so often take on different work?  Let’s face it, it is tough to turn down a request for help. Everyone wants to be a team player, and nobody wants to get fired. We all know North Carolina employers must abide by OSHA safety regulations, but we also know that, in the real world, that does not always happen.

So how can you politely decline dangerous jobs when you feel yourself getting pushed to the limit?  Here are some lines suggested by the workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers:

  • “I wish I could do that job, but I haven’t been trained yet. I’m happy to do anything I’ve been trained for.”
  • “Sorry we are short-handed, but I’m worried about injuring myself if I cover for Jim. Can I have another job, please?”
  • “I’d be happy to take on that project as soon as I get the right training and equipment.’
  • “I know you’re in a jam, but could you please find someone who has been trained on that machine? I am worried about hurting myself.”

State and federal laws protect you from retaliation if you decline a dangerous job, so the important thing is not the way you say it, but that you say it. When it comes to safety, stand up for yourself in the workplace; entering the discomfort zone may wind up making you very uncomfortable.

If you were pushed outside your comfort zone in a North Carolina workplace and were injured, contact an attorney at Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers for a case evaluation.

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh

I’m Brian Ricci, a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at work, please call me at (252) 777-2222 or 800-387-6406 for free, friendly advice.

I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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