Nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work were reported by private industry employers in the year 2012, according to extensive data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This incidence rate is largely declining over the past ten years. While certain industries present a greater risk for workplace injuries than others, the fact is that workplace injuries and/or illnesses can occur at any job. The following list provides the top ten workplace injuries according to major U.S. insurance companies:
10. On-the-Job Violence by Persons or Animals: Whether injury results from an understood occupational hazard (violence by persons or animals accounted for 27% of injuries to police and sheriff’s patrol officers in 2012), or intense office politics turned nasty, on-the-job violence is one of the top ten workplace injuries. Workplace violence employee training and internal reporting will continue to reduce this statistic.
9. Repetitive Motion Injuries: These include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, and Bursitis. Repetitive motions such as typing, constantly swinging a sledgehammer, or working in an awkward bodily position for extended periods of time can cause long-term repetitive motion injuries.
8. Machine Entanglement: This type of injury usually occurs in a factory where heavy equipment and/or machinery is used. An employee’s clothing, fingers and hair can get caught up in the machinery and/or equipment. Protective gear and heightened attention to workplace surroundings is necessary to avoid such incidents.
7. Vehicle Accidents: Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in motor vehicle accidents, both minor and major. Mandatory driver safety programs and careful hiring procedures can reduce these incidents.
6. “Walking Into” Injuries: This type of injury results from employees that accidentally collide with inanimate objects such walls, doors, cabinets, windows, furniture, and so forth. Heightened employee awareness of their surroundings, as well as employer vigilance in how equipment is placed at the workplace, can reduce these incidents of injury.
5. “Falling Object” Injuries: Objects that fall from shelving, or are dropped by another employee, can cause very serious injuries such as head injuries and foot injuries. Mandating the use of personal protection gear such as a hard hat and heavy boots in certain types of work environments can serve to prevent severe falling object injuries.
4. Reaction Injuries: Injuries caused by an employee’s physical reaction to the threat of slipping and/or tripping; in other words, injuries caused by “catching one’s fall.” These incidents can cause pulled/strained muscle injuries, sprains, and other bodily trauma. There is no particular way to prevent such injuries, other than to provide a clear hazard-free workspace.
3. Falling from Heights: Employees who are working on roofs, ladders, scaffolding etc. are particularly susceptible to this type of workplace injury. They can be caused by a simple slip and fall, or due to faulty equipment. The impact of this type of accident can be reduced by the use of proper personal protection gear, special training and employee diligence.
2. Slipping and/or Tripping: A leading cause of employee workplace accidents is the slip and/or trip. Wet, slippery floors or objects lying on the floor can cause this type of accident and the resulting injury. Attention by the employer must be paid to ensure that spills are promptly cleaned up, and no debris or objects are left around where employees travel.
1. Overexertion Injuries: The number one workplace injury is caused by pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work. Overexertion has consistently been the leading cause of workplace injuries, and is also the most expensive to employers’ insurance companies.
Proper employee training, diligence and common sense, and workplace safety precautions (e.g. mandatory footwear and headgear) can serve to reduce the number of workplace accidents, and we will continue to see a steady reduction in the statistics as awareness is raised.
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If you have been injured in a workplace accident that has put you out of work and requires medical care, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Klok Law Firm, LLC today for a free initial consultation.