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Ohio government workers at risk of injury

Working in the government is not generally considered risky business. Unfortunately, any occupation is susceptible to workplace injuries and government jobs are no exception.

A recent refort indicated that fifteen of the twenty-five employers with the highest number of injury claims were governmental entities. The two highest-reporting employers within the state are actually the cities of Cleveland and Columbus, in that order. Roughly twenty employees filed workplace injury claims every week in Cleveland.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation received almost 1.3 million total claims in the years from 2003 to 2012 and it paid nearly $1.9 billion in benefits in 2012.

It makes some sense that city employees would make up such a large portion of the workers' compensation claims. Bigger cities employ more people, and in Columbus, there are roughly 8,000 employees working each day. This number places Columbus in the top 50 largest Ohio employers but it still is nowhere near the size of Wal-Mart, which employs over 50,000 people.

Another factor that may account for the heightened numbers of workplace accidents and injuries in governmental entities is the type of work. Public service jobs includes positions within the state's penal system and street department, for example, and these positions may simply be more dangerous than most jobs.

Ohio teachers are also at a heightened risk working with student. Teachers working with disabled students are especially susceptible to injuries from outbursts and the like.

Public-sector employees are not covered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) regulations, but local and state government entities must abide by the Public Employment Risk Reduction Program, which is similar to OSHA.

Even though public-sector employees may not have the exact same protections and private-sectors employees, workers' compensation is still available for employees who are injured during the course of employment. An injured worker could lose time at work whiel they recover and could endure a large amount of medical bills. Filing for workers' compensation could offset these costs and significantly help the worker heal properly and return to work promptly.

Source: CentralOhio.com, "Labor pain: Work can be bad for your health," Russ Zimmer, Nov. 25, 2013

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