In the aftermath of the situation, the managers of a senior residential facility all agreed: it was the strangest assisted living workers compensation claim they had seen in a long time. One long-time staffer had been waxing the floor in the residents’ dining room, listening to a personal electronic device on headphones and oblivious to her surroundings. Another employee, also plugged in to her headphones and lost in her own personal music experience, entered the room with some dishes to set the tables for dinner. When she passed behind the woman waxing the floor, the latter startled the former—and the mop and bucket went flying as the worker slipped and slid across the floor. As she fell, she took out the employee who’d startled her; he lost his balance on the damp floor, glasses and silverware went flying, and both workers ended up on the ground. One worker suffered a bruised tailbone and severe lacerations from the broken shards of glass, which occurred when the glasses fell and broke. The other employee fared even worse—she broke her wrist during the fall, and one of the forks that fell to the ground caused injury to her eye when the tines scratched her retina. The only thing that seemed to emerge from the incident unscathed was the workers’ iPods, which were encased in a tough protective covering.
The staff talked about the unfortunate comedy of errors for weeks
The injured employees were out of work for months recovering from their injuries. In the meantime, the facility’s administration immediately revamped their safety program to restrict the use of personal listening devices while at work, and require staff to completely block off rooms (rather than just put out a single “wet floor” cone) that were in the process of being mopped and waxed. The facility’s professional insurance agent streamlined the assisted living workers compensation claims process, but agreed with the administrators—it was definitely one of the strangest claims he had ever processed! Don’t let this happen to you and your employees—consider the potential compromise of safety if your staff listens to music via headphones while at work.