What Qualifies as a Work-Related Injury?

December 3, 2021
By Glauber Berenson Vego

A worker may face many different types of incidents in the workplace that could result in serious injuries, lost wages, and missed work. An employee that sustains an injury on the job may be entitled to receive lost wage benefits, medical treatment and more through filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The good news is, California has a no-fault system for workers’ compensation; this means that you are not required to prove that your employer acted negligently in causing your injury. However, before applying for a worker’\s’ compensation claim, there are a few things to consider when classifying if your injury is categorically work-related.


Workplace Injury


According to OSHA Standard 1904.5, A work-related injury is an event, exposure, or activity occurring in the environment that contributed to a worker sustaining an injury or aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work injuries can arise if the work environment is harmful, has dangerous or defective equipment, harsh chemicals, or presents hazards that could lead to physical or occupational injuries. If you are an injured worker in California and want to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must prove these things:


  • You were on the premises when you got injured.

  • You were performing your job responsibilities, and as a result t, you sustained an injury.

  • You are now suffering from physical damage due to your work-related activities.


Unfortunately, accidents are relatively common, especially for high-risk or physically demanding occupations such as; manual laborers or the construction industry. These jobs often require workers to transport heavy loads and use dangerous machinery and equipment that can potentially lead to devastating injuries. In 2019, approximately 5,333 workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. Here are a few incidents an employee may face at work that qualifies as a work-related injury:


Occupational Illness and Injury

An occupational illness is when a worker is exposed to a harmful substance or engages in physical activity in the work environment that contributes to a condition or exacerbates a preexisting condition. A few examples of occupational illnesses and injuries may include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders from a repetitive sprain, bodily reaction, or overexertion such as carpal tunnel syndrome.


  • Skin diseases are illnesses on a worker’s skin caused by exposure to harsh chemicals, including eczema or contact dermatitis.


  • Respiratory conditions due to breathing in harmful toxins, illnesses such as; COPD, occupational asthma, etc.,


  • Physical injuries such as slip and falls, falling from elevation and sustaining an injury from machinery.


Non-Work-Related Injury


Accidents at work do happen; however, there are situations where a worker has sustained an injury, and it is not considered a work-related injury. According to 1904.5(b)(2), here is what constitutes a non-work-related injury:


  • When an employee suffered an injury and was present in the work environment, however, they were not working at the time of the injury.


  • The symptoms from the injury or exposure are due to a non-work-related event.


  • If the injury was from an employee’s consumption of food or beverages prepared at home, this does not qualify as work-related.


  • If an employee sustained an injury from personal tasks that were unrelated to employment duties.


All employers are required to ensure a reasonably safe work environment free from impending harm to all employees. It is always important to follow safety procedures and employee training when using heavy equipment, machinery, or lifting heavy items; this can help prevent a work-related injury and ensure your safety.


Contact a Glendale Workplace Injury Lawyer

Glauber Berenson Vego has over 100 years of collective legal experience representing injured workers throughout Los Angeles. If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury and needs to file a workers’ compensation claim, we can help assist you in the process. Contact us today at (626) 605-2450 for a free consultation.