In any industry, workers face the possibility of a workplace injury or even death, especially when employers ignore safety precautions. There are daily threats of falling objects, deadly machinery malfunctions, slips, and other incidents that can injure an employee.
Importance of Safety in the Workplace
According to data collected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 5,000 workers died on the job in 2018. While there is always a chance for injury in any profession, some industries with hazardous working conditions require stringent safety protocols to ensure employee safety. High-risk occupations like construction, long-haul trucking, farming, foresting, and other labor-intensive industries have the highest potential for a workplace injury or death. OSHA has even identified the “Fatal Four” most common injuries for construction workers, which include:
- Being struck by an object
- Entanglement with machinery or “caught-between”
Astonishingly, if these fatal four injuries were eliminated in the workplace, 591 workers’ lives would be saved annually in America.
Businesses apply safety precautions that all employees must follow to avoid liability in case of an injury on the job. However, even the most prepared businesses are at risk of an employee getting hurt at any time. Workers and employers alike should be aware of the dangers and risks of injury in the workplace so that safety precautions can be readily followed and any accidents can be avoided.
The 10 Most Common Work-Related Injuries
Injuries are possible in even the most mundane of office environments. Business owners should be aware of the most common work-related injuries and how to prevent them from happening, to avoid becoming embattled in a lengthy workers’ compensation dispute. Employees themselves should become educated on injury risks in the workplace to prevent them and stay safe.
According to data compiled by OSHA and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following are the most common workplace injuries in America today:
1. Slip and Fall
Perhaps the most common workplace injury across industries is the slip and fall injury. From offices to overstocked warehouses and factories, the risk of slipping on freshly mopped floors or in a puddle of spilled liquid is always there. Without proper caution signs indicating a wet floor, the employer can be held responsible for this injury.
2. Struck by Moving Objects
Employees in the workplace are often injured by moving objects. This can include falling items like boxes, building materials, or tools. It also includes injuries sustained from being struck by moving machinery. Moving or falling objects can cause serious traumatic brain injuries in employees.
Workplaces can prevent injury by falling or moving objects by posting warning signs where falling objects are likely and require protective equipment like hardhats and goggles in construction zones.
3. Struck Against Stationary Objects
On the opposite side of the spectrum, workers can also be injured by striking their bodies against stationary objects. Sometimes, distracted workers walk or run into poles, walls, windows, machinery, or vehicles, resulting in head, knee, neck, or foot injury.
Companies should put policies into place to limit cellphone use and other distractions in hazardous environments to avoid this kind of injury.
Overexertion injuries occur when workers strain too hard while completing a task. These job-related injuries can manifest as strained, pulled, or torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as chronic pain or joint issues, which are often severe.
Workers should be provided ample training on how to perform work tasks like heavy lifting and be allowed adequate break time to give their bodies a rest during the workday, to avoid overexertion injuries.
5. Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries occur in just the way they sound – by performing motions repetitively. By completing the same action in excessive repetition, workers can experience cumulative trauma to their bodies. One of the most common repetitive motion injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve damage caused by repetitive motions. It affects a wide variety of workers, from assembly line workers to office personnel.
Workplaces should provide ergonomic equipment and allow for regular breaks to avoid these kinds of employee injuries.
Electrocution is a common injury in workplaces where employees are exposed to dangerous power lines or utilities, though it can happen anywhere realistically. Proper precautions should be identified before fixing faulty wiring or digging near underground power lines.
One of the most terrifying workplace injuries is entanglement, which is when a worker’s clothing, hair, or limbs, become caught within moving heavy machinery. Entanglement can result in crushed bones, lost limbs, or death. Employees working with dangerous machinery must have proper training and proper clothing before performing serious tasks.
8. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Jobs that require the use of trucks or other vehicles have the potential for motor vehicle accident injuries. There are tons of factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents in the workplace, including weather, equipment issues, and negligent driving.
Businesses that use car fleets or trucks should stress driver safety and regularly monitor drivers to ensure they follow all safety procedures while operating a vehicle so accidents and collisions can be avoided.
9. Falls From Heights
One injury that workers, especially in construction and cleaning, can experience is a fall from heights. Window washers on platforms or construction workers laying down roofing might fall from a height and sustain severe injuries like broken bones or internal bleeding.
It’s incredibly important to follow OSHA standards when operating above certain heights, which may require special training and hoisting equipment.
10. Workplace Violence
In modern times, the threat of workplace violence has become increasingly prevalent. Disputes between coworkers may arise, as well as arguments or violent disagreements between employees and customers. Workplaces should provide violence training and de-escalation tactics to all employees to avoid the potential for any workplace violence injuries.
When employees are injured in the workplace, it can require a business to shell out large sums of money for legal proceedings, workers’ compensation, and installing new safety equipment. If the proper safety measures are implemented, workplace injuries and all the frustrating legal fall out that comes with them can be avoided entirely. However, if you are injured in the workplace, contact us to consult with an experienced workplace injury lawyer to determine the best course of action to receive the benefits and compensation you deserve.