Work-Related Injuries & Illnesses

Construction Worker

The American workplace is a safer, healthier place than it was a century ago. Fortunately, the rates of death and serious injury and disease have plummeted in many industries due to the combined efforts of employers, organized labor, professional and technical teams and governmental entities. Health and safety have benefited from advances in industrial hygiene, engineering, and technology focused on equipment re-design and better work processes. Worker training and the use of personal protective equipment have also functioned to reduce the risks of occupational disease when workers are tasked to work under hazardous conditions. However, challenges remain. Many people regard certain occupations, such as logging, commercial fishing and mining, as hazardous. Yet, any type of work can lead to injury or illness. In addition to the machine operator with a crush injury of the fingers, injuries might include a typist with neck strain, a school teacher with asthma related to indoor air bioaerosol contamination, a hair stylist whose skin has become sensitized to hair dye or a nurse exposed to patient blood that might transmit infection.

Some work-related problems are obvious, such as a cut or burn. Others are more subtle and begin gradually; it may even be unclear whether the problem is related to the workplace.

Some workers come to us when they have not had an injury, but are worried about a special risk. For instance, a woman who is pregnant or is planning a pregnancy might be concerned about chemicals or radiation in her workplace. Although any work-related task can pose a health risk, any health risk can be reduced or eliminated.

We dedicate a wide range of resources to help workers remain healthy. Our services are supported by grant funding from the Connecticut Department of Labor and the Connecticut Department of Public Health that enables us to augment our clinical services and build a specialized team of experts. Our team of consultants includes ergonomists, industrial hygienists and indoor air specialists who can help guide preventive efforts, safety training and treatment interventions. We know that work is vital to livelihood and quality of life. Whenever possible, our efforts focus on assisting the worker in remaining safely engaged and productive through work modifications. We know that this approach improves outcomes.

Caring for the “Other Workers”

Voluteers at UConn HealthSometimes you are working in a job site but are not classified as an employee. For instance, you may be a volunteer or a student. Although you are not covered under workers’ compensation and may lack some of the legal protections held by employees, you may face some of the same risks of injury.

Our clinicians are happy to help you whether you are an employee, student or volunteer. Depending upon the circumstances, we may bill our services to your personal health insurance.