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A not-so-funny thing happened at work today …

Some jobs are just more dangerous than others. A firefighter is more likely to be at risk of an on-the-job injury than a hair stylist. When firefighters take the job, they know -- especially here in New York -- that they could be injured or killed when responding to an emergency, even if everyone has taken all the necessary precautions and followed all of the safety protocols.

The hair stylist does not face danger on a daily basis. The job may involve razors and scissors and dyes, but stylists are not getting paid to run into burning buildings. They are getting paid to wash, cut and style hair. The occupational hazards of the two jobs are vastly different.

Depending on their duties, health care workers can have more in common with firefighters than with hair stylists. We can see why just from recent headlines: A handful of health care workers have been exposed to Ebola and may be infected with the virus.

In some ways, claiming workers' comp benefits for an injury is less complicated than making a claim for an illness. There is an episode of the television series "Mad Men" that includes an office party gone terribly awry: An employee drives a lawnmower over a manager's foot. Compensable? It certainly doesn't sound like an occupational hazard for an ad agency. We hope.

With an illness, the workers' comp claim starts with two questions. A "yes" to both will not guarantee payment, though. The questions are really just the first hurdles in a long series of hurdles to making a successful claim.

What are the questions? We'll get into them in our next post.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Is Ebola Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation?" Christopher J. Boggs, Oct. 10, 2014

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