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Common sawmill injuries and how Georgia’s workers’ comp system can help

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Sawmills are some of the busiest workplaces there are. Apart from transporting large and heavy logs, the facilities are responsible for processing the wood into lumber, which is a surprisingly labor-intensive process despite mechanization.

But while machines do most of the work, sawmills remain hazardous workplaces. Heavy machinery, sharp blades, and the constant handling of lumber can lead to a range of injuries.

Fortunately, Georgia’s workers’ compensation system can provide financial support and medical benefits to injured sawmill workers.

So, what injury risks do sawmill workers face, and how can workers’ compensation help them?

Common sawmill injuries

Here are some of the more common injuries that sawmill workers may incur in their line of work. They include:

  • Cuts and lacerations: Sawmills are full of sharp blades and moving parts, making cuts and lacerations common. These injuries can be severe and may require surgery.
  • Hearing loss: Prolonged exposure to loud noises in sawmills can cause permanent hearing loss.
  • Back and spinal injuries: Sawmill workers often lift heavy logs and equipment, leading to back and spinal injuries. These injuries can be severe and may require surgery or physical therapy.
  • Traumatic amputations: Sawmills are hazardous, and workers may suffer amputations due to accidents with moving parts or equipment.
  • Eye injuries: With woodcutting happening all around, it’s not unusual for sawmills to be full of flying debris and dust, which can cause eye injuries.
  • Respiratory problems: Sawdust and other particles in the air can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis.

If you’re a sawmill worker and suffer any of these injuries, it’s important that you seek medical attention immediately and report it to your employer. As you receive medical treatment, workers’ compensation may be able to help with the financial burdens associated with your injuries.

Key benefits for injured workers

The workers’ comp system in Georgia offers several types of benefits. They are:

  • Medical benefits: Coverage of all authorized medical bills, physical therapy, and prescriptions.
  • Income benefits: Compensation for lost wages if you are unable to work or are on light duty with lower pay.
  • Permanent or partial disability benefits: Benefits for lasting disabilities, calculated based on the affected body part and severity of impairment

But before an employer or their insurer can pay these benefits, the worker must accomplish and submit a claim for, which must be approved.

A sawmill employer or their insurer can deny a claim for several reasons. Perhaps the claim form wasn’t properly filled, or the worker filed their claim too late. The employer might even argue that the worker’s injuries resulted from a non-work factor or that the worker isn’t as disabled as they claim to be.

If you face a claim denial for any reason, keep in mind that you can still appeal the decision. An attorney with workers’ comp experience may be able to represent you before the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and help you make your case.