12 December 2011

Action against workplace injuries

Professionals such as doctors, veterinarians and engineers face a high risk of injury in their workplace every day. This is according to new statistics released by PPS.


Professionals such as doctors, veterinarians and engineers face a high risk of injury in their workplace every day. This is according to new statistics released by PPS, the financial services company focused on graduate professionals, which shows that 20% of PPS sickness claims are related to injuries.

This is according to Dr Dominique Stott, Executive: Medical Standards and Services at PPS, who says that in light of Prevention of Injuries month in December, certain professionals working in occupations specifically designed around unimpeded use of certain critical body parts, such as eyes or fingers, are particularly at risk from not being able to perform their occupations should an impairment occur.

“Most professionals study and train for years to gain extensive experience in their field of expertise a serious injury or disability can be the end of a career, as it is not viable to simply change profession. However, a few professionals may be fortunate enough to be able to change their occupation within their professions.”

Higher risk of injury

Dr Stott says the very nature of the profession means most professionals may be prone to a higher risk of injury. “In construction, professionals such as engineers or architects are required to work on construction sites which naturally present a number of risks, such as uneven terrain, hazardous falling objects, potential minor injuries from objects, and the danger of working with heavy equipment required on such sites.”

“Veterinary surgeons face a number of potential injuries when working with animals including animal bites, physical injuries caused when lifting heavy animals or working in awkward positions, such as stooping when part of a team for artificial insemination. Similarly, doctors may also be subject to injuries when lifting heavy body parts, such as an orthopaedic surgeon being required to work on a limb.”

“Should a professional who requires the use of all fingers, for example a dentist or surgeon, lose a finger this places serious limitations on their ability to use their hand in their specific occupation. It would be even worse for a surgeon to lose an eye as with the loss of depth perception they would be seriously impaired from operating.”

Dr Stott says even when the greatest precaution is taken accidents do happen and for this reason all professionals must ensure they have sufficient disability insurance cover to replace any loss of income. “The loss of income could be as a result of time off work due to surgery, recuperating from the event or taking part in workplace rehabilitation that enables the professional to return to work.”

“Whilst medical aid will pay for the actual hospitalisation and costs of surgery, the additional time off required for recovery is what a temporary sickness benefit is designed for. Should there be inability to perform the specific profession then income replacement type benefits will ensure the lost income is replaced.”

A lump sum disability benefit could also be an essential part of financial planning for professionals to ensure a lump sum is paid out should the professional become permanently disabled and unable to perform their specific occupation, says Dr Stott.

“Even though most professionals are trained to take precautions in the workplace, the best protection any professional can have is good financial cover that will enable them to continue living their lives at the same standard, even if they are unable to work in their profession following serious injury or disability, The alternatives must be discussed with a financial advisor to ensure the best cover is included in the insurance portfolio,” concludes Dr Stott.


(Press release, PPS, December 2011)


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