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Horseplay on the job increases workplace hazards

Most Connecticut workers might think that a sense of humor helps them get through their day, but pranks and horseplay can cross the line and expose workers to danger. Horseplay can become dangerous when activities include rowdy behavior that includes physical contact among workers or operating vehicles and equipment irresponsibly. Racing, grabbing or pressuring people to participate in unauthorized games or contests also create opportunities for injuries to occur.

In addition to accidents and injuries, co-workers who engage in horseplay could hurt people's feelings and encourage animosity between groups. The victim of a joke might want to seek revenge. The distracting behavior could also impede people trying to get their work done.

Employers have a legal obligation to eliminate or mitigate hazards that threaten employees. A workplace culture that focuses on safety forms a good starting point. Supervisors should expect workers to act responsibly and value the group's safety. Enforcement of rules plays a role as well. Inappropriate use of equipment or harassment of co-workers should not be tolerated by management.

A person hurt in an on-the-job accident could expect workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. In some circumstances, however, legal advice could be appropriate, especially if someone acted negligently at work or an employer is discouraging someone from making an insurance claim. An attorney could evaluate the case and inform the person about options for pursuing a financial settlement. Advice about how to make a safety complaint to regulators could also be provided by an attorney. An attorney could identify coverage within an insurance policy and complete the paperwork for a claim.

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