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Common workplace injuries in the textile industry

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

North Carolina has a long history in textile manufacturing, which continues strong today. The state is home to nearly 25% of all textile manufacturing employees in America and is responsible for almost 20% of U.S. textile exports.

However, for a sector about making comfy and fashionable clothes, the textile industry is also fraught with danger. The process of manufacturing clothes uses heavy machinery and chemicals, which can injure and maim workers.

What are these injuries and what can workers do if they suffer any of them?

The many risks faced by textile workers

The following are some of the most common injuries North Carolina’s textile workers could potentially suffer. They are:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders: Textile work subjects workers to repetitive motions, awkward postures and manual handling of materials. Over time, these situations can lead to various musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders include:
    • Back injuries (strains, herniated discs)
    • Shoulder injuries (rotator cuff tears, bursitis)
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand/wrist injuries
    • Tendinitis and other injuries to the arms, legs, and neck
  • Hearing loss: The noise levels in textile mills, particularly from machinery such as looms and spinning frames, can cause noise-induced hearing loss over time.
  • Respiratory problems: Exposure to cotton dust, dyes, and other textile fibers can lead to respiratory issues like byssinosis (brown lung disease), asthma, and other lung conditions.
  • Lacerations and amputations: The use of cutting machines, needles, and other sharp equipment in textile manufacturing poses a risk of lacerations. In the most severe cases, machines can also cause finger or limb amputation.
  • Skin disorders: Contact with dyes, chemicals and fibers can irritate the skin, causing rashes and dermatitis.

In addition to these injuries, workers may also experience slip and trip accidents in their line of work.

How workers’ comp can help

If you suffered any of these injuries at your textile job, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under North Carolina labor law. Workers’ compensation can cover your medical costs and a part of your lost wages.

You must properly report the injury and file a claim immediately after suffering a work-related injury. However, filing a claim won’t automatically lead to compensation. The claims process is an involved procedure, and your employer could deny your claim for many reasons, such as sending an incomplete claim form.

Should your employer deny your claim, you can still appeal to the North Carolina Industrial Commission to reverse the decision. But this process is even more convoluted, as both you and your employer have to appear in an administrative hearing to make your cases.

A legal professional on your side may be able to help with this step of the claims process. An attorney won’t only represent you in the hearing but also help review the circumstances surrounding your case and protect your rights as a worker.