In this article we are going to take a look at the “13 Most Common Workplace Injuries” and how to prevent them.
1. Trips, Slips And Falls
These accounts for one third of all personal injuries in the workplace, and they are a top cause of all workers’ compensation claims. The types of injuries incurred include head, back and neck injuries, broken bones, cuts, sprains and pulled muscles.
The most common reasons for falls in the workplace are:
Slips: Occasional spills, wet or oily surfaces, weather hazards like icy steps or walkway, and loose rugs.
Trips: Poor lighting, clutter, wrinkled carpeting or mats, uncovered cables, and uneven walking surfaces.
There are 3 keys to preventing these types of workplace accidents: good housekeeping, quality walking surfaces and proper footwear. Beyond that, employees should be encouraged to report areas where clutter, obstruction, spillage or damage have occurred.
2. Overexertion and bodily reaction – This includes
Non-impact injuries: Result from excessive physical effort directed at an outside source; common activities include lifting, pushing, turning, holding, carrying, or throwing.
Repetitive motion: Microtasks resulting in stress or strain on some part of the body due to the repetitive nature of the task, typically without strenuous effort such as heavy lifting
Many employees are prone to sprain, strain or tear a muscle by virtue of lifting an object that is too heavy for them to lift on their own. Keep in mind that there is no harm in asking for help with objects that are difficult to lift.
To prevent injury associated with lifting activity, workers must adopt proper lifting techniques.
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4. Hazardous Materials
Improper handling of hazardous materials or not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is another common cause of accidents in the workplace. By reading material safety data sheets and providing the appropriate protective attire, many workplace incidents can be avoided.
5. Workplace Violence
Sadly, violence among co-workers has become all too common. It is usually brought about by office politics or other sensitive issues. Integrating conflict resolution and peer mediation can help to reduce the risks of such outbursts.
6. Vehicle Related Accidents
Where there are vehicles of any kind, there’s the potential for accidents. These include being struck or run over by a moving vehicle, falling from a vehicle, being struck by objects falling from a vehicle and getting crushed by or stuck under an overturned vehicle.
Avoiding these types of accidents begins with assessing who’s at risk, as well as where and when these accidents most commonly occur. Only then are prevention measures more easily established. Focus on workplace design, ensuring all layout routes always segregate pedestrians and vehicles and make any obstructions clearly visible. Directions, speed limit and priority signs are also helpful.
7. Contact with objects and equipment: This includes
- A moving object striking a worker
- A worker striking against an object or equipment, including bumping into, stepping on, kicking, or being pushed or thrown onto an object
- A part of a worker’s body being squeezed, pinched, compressed, or crushed in equipment, between shifting objects, between stationary objects, or in a wire or rope
- A worker being struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material
- A worker being injured as a result of friction or pressure between the person and the source of injury
- A worker being injured from vibration
8. Fire And Explosions
Explosions and fires in the workplace are frequently caused by risk factors such as faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials or open flames. The resulting injuries incurred include damage to the respiratory system, varying degrees of burns and even potential disfigurement. Explosions and fires account for 3 percent of workplace injuries and have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents.
There are 4 types of injuries commonly associated with this type of accident:
Primary Blast: These occur due to the effects of pressure on body tissues, affecting ears, lungs and the GI tract.
Secondary Blast: This occurs when flying objects strike nearby workers.
Tertiary Blast: High-energy explosions can lift someone off the ground.
Quaternary Blast: Everything else that happens as a result of an explosion, such as crush injuries, burns and inhalation of toxic substances.
OSHA recommends following its hazard communication standards to help workers avoid these types of injuries. In addition, material safety data sheets for all chemicals should be kept on hand and employees should be required to wear personal protective equipment at all times.
Failing to take a break is another common cause of accidents. In order to recover from grueling manual labor, it is essential that employees take adequate breaks. Not doing so can lead to a slew of physical issues, including atrophy and general exhaustion. The results of either of these can be far more devastating than taking a 10-minute breather.
Not staying hydrated can also bring about disastrous consequences. On exceptionally hot summer days, failing to drink adequate amounts of water can cause heat stroke or cardiac conditions. This can be avoided by simply drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. Management should stress the importance of proper hydration and rest, as it maximizes the efforts of personnel.
11. Ergonomic Injuries
Ergonomics, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association, are the study and science of understanding how particular jobs, or job-related functions, impact the human body. Typing, for instance, is a job-related function that has the potential to cause wrist discomfort and muscular strain, which may lead to a more serious condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ergonomic injuries can occur from things that include sitting too long in ergonomically incorrect positions. According to OSHA, millions of people in the workforce do a lot of sitting and computer work, so there is a lot of potential for ergonomic injuries, including back problems, headaches, neck tension and eye strain. Other types of ergonomic injuries can occur from lifting heavy objects incorrectly.
12. Repetitive Stress and Overexertion Injuries
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most costly workplace injuries. Complaints of back pain alone cost employers more than 7 billion dollars annually and lead to more than 100 million lost workdays annually. These kinds of injuries contribute to loss of productivity and millions in annual health benefit payout costs.
The financial impact on the employer is one thing, but the long-term effects on workers can be severe and potentially debilitating and they account for nearly 33 percent of occupational injuries.
Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) are the fasting growing category of workplace injury and comprise more than 100 different types of job-induced injuries, and they’re severe enough to inhibit simple activities with crippling and debilitating pain. They could even eventually permanently impair a worker’s ability to perform his or her job.
Causes for these types of injuries include:
Improper Lifting or Manually Lifting Heavy Objects: You’ve heard it a million times, lift with your knees, not your back. Especially objects weighing over 50lbs without the assistance of a co-worker or lifting device.
No Breaks: With repetitive work, short breaks should be required or the work may eventually result in wear and tear on the body.
Intensive Keying: Constant typing and clicking strains muscles and tendons.
Stress is one of the leading causes of death. It affects the human body in every facet imaginable. Stress can foster negative effects physiologically, emotionally and mentally, as well as debilitate or distract any worker. Therefore, it is essential to encourage a supportive team environment.
Read Also: Workers compensation Utah; How it works
Statistical Expression of Workplace Injuries
The most recent data on workplace accidents show that there were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that of those cases:
- 11% involved overexertion in lifting or lowering.
- 64% of bone fractures were from accidents in the service industries.
- 62% of slips, trips, and falls were on the same level.
- 20% of slips, trips, and falls were from a worker falling between two or more levels.
- 15% of all nonfatal workplace injuries were from workers being struck by equipment or objects while on the job.
- 35% of cases across all industries resulted from sprains, strains, and tears.
The BLS also reported that, across all industries, more than 25% of all injuries were caused by slips, trips, and falls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are most likely to happen because of:
When assessing the cases reporting these accidents, the CDC found that:
- 20% of falls on the same level are from trips.
- 13% of falls on the same level are from slips.
- 11% of falls to a lower level occur when someone falls through a surface or an existing opening.
Even if your job environment does not involve workers interacting with the leading causes of slips, trips, and falls (like ladders or scaffolding), there are other areas where these accidents can occur.
When assessing your workplace, be on the lookout for areas or objects that may increase the likelihood of someone slipping, tripping, or falling. Slips, trips, and falls can also result from:
- Slippery surfaces
- Broken equipment
- Areas with a lack of safety signage
Workplace Injuries Lawyer
If you are injured at work and you feel you need advise on some issues surrounding the injury, there are Lawyers for Workplace Injuries you can contact.
- Thomas Marchese
1017 Dublin Rd,
Columbus, OH 43215
8:00 am thru 4:30 pm
Monday thru Friday
Sunday by appt