Workplace injuries can take many forms. They can happen by accident or through negligence, but oftentimes, it’s a combination of both. While Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation, many injuries can be avoided with proper precaution.
There are actually a myriad of reasons why workplace injuries happen. An injury can happen because the workplace conditions are unsafe or there wasn’t enough oversight. Sometimes it’s because a worker isn’t following proper procedure, though that does not affect your right to workers’ compensation.
Here, we’ll take you through some of the most common workplace injuries, provide the most recent statistics, and take you through some tips to help prevent you or your employees from being injured on the job.
Most Common Workplace Injuries
A recent study by findlaw.com revealed that as many as 1 in 5 adults say that they have been injured on the job. The study also revealed the most common workplace injuries. These can range in severity from typing-related injuries to excruciating or irreversible bodily harm.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it does shed light on the most common workplace injuries and points to specific reasons why they may have happened.
According to the study, the most common workplace injuries include:
Musculoskeletal injuries – More than 37 percent of the workers surveyed reported sustaining musculoskeletal injuries. Musculoskeletal disorders often result from overexertion, lifting heavy objects, typing, and other day-to-day job-related tasks.
Slip-and-fall injuries – 31 percent of survey respondents reported suffering a slip-and-fall injury related to their employment. Whether it was your fault or not, if you take a spill at work and get hurt, be sure to report the injury. The long-term ramifications of a slip and fall injury can be harmful, not just to your body, but also to your way of life.
Repetitive motion injuries – These are way more common than one might think. With the rise of computers, mobile phones, and other workplace equipment, the risk for repetitive motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome has gone up dramatically. Of those surveyed, 20 percent reported suffering work-related injuries caused by repetitive motion. These injuries are covered by workers’ compensation according to Mancini case law.
Injured by machinery or struck by object – Roughly 17 percent of survey respondents reported injuries related to potentially dangerous office equipment, machinery, and objects. Employees who suffer injuries from defective items can look into workers’ compensation as well as third-party product liability claims against the manufacturer.
Motor vehicle accidents – 12 percent of surveyed workers reported suffering on-the-job injuries related to car accidents. Even if you were in your own car, you may receive workers’ compensation for injuries that you suffered while on the clock, or in the scope of employment.
Workplace violence – According to the survey’s results, 5 percent of the people surveyed suffered injuries from workplace violence, like a physical assault from a co-worker. While this may seem like a low figure, that’s still 1 in 20 workplace injuries resulting from violence.
Burns – About 3 percent of surveyed workers sustained heat or chemical burns at work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), several types of burns may occur at work, including thermal burns, electrical burns, and chemical burns. Employers are required to follow workplace safety rules set forth by OSHA and provide protective equipment, if necessary. A burn sustained from a coffee pot or hot liquid might also be covered under workers’ compensation.
Statistics on Workplace Injuries
Statistics can often illuminate trends or specific issues that need to be addressed in workplace safety. Here, we’ve compiled some particularly interesting figures that should shed light on where workplace injuries take place in the United States.
According to a 2015 report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers that year. That rate is equivalent to 3 cases per every 100 full-time workers.
This figure represents a pattern of decline in workplace injuries. According to the report, private industry employers reported about 48,000 fewer nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2015 than in 2014.
Six of the 19 private industry sectors reported this decline, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; healthcare and social assistance; and accommodation and food services.
Statistics show that the injury and illness rate remained highest among midsize workplaces (those that employ 50 to 249 workers), and the lowest reported figures were in small businesses (those that employ fewer than 11 people).
In the public sector, 752,600 cases of injury and illness were reported among the 18.4 state and local government workers. This equals 5.1 cases per 100-full time workers. For reference, the people in these positions may work in education, healthcare, the police force, and any other government entity.
This figure is a modest increase from the 2015 number of 5 per 100, and stands higher than the public sector rate of 3 per 100 full-time workers.
Among states with available statistics for both private and public sector employees, the total number of recordable cases declined in 9 of them and remained unchanged in 32 states, along with the District of Columbia. The number of cases was higher than the national average of 3 per 100 full-time workers in 21 states.
All of this points to an overall decline in workplace injury cases, though they still remain common. In total, around 30 million cases were reported across the United States, not an insignificant figure by any stretch of the imagination.
Tips For Accident Prevention
Now that you know the statistics, you know how important it is that workplace injuries be prevented when possible. Not only do they cause harm to individuals, but also to the businesses from paying workers’ compensation insurance, legal services, and possibly other expenses.
Hereare some of the easiest ways to prevent workplace injury:
Have A Plan
The best way to prevent workplace injuries is to be prepared for them. Companies and businesses should have safety training and injury prevention procedures in place to cover all aspects of safety and wellness.
Employee training should not be a one-and-done experience. Workplaces need to continually update employees on the importance of safety measures as well as the proper procedures for performing their duties while at work.
Find Your Areas of Concern
Not all workplace safety measures are foolproof. It’s critical that companies research their facilities and systems, identify where employees may be vulnerable to safety hazards, and fix them.
Have Proper Equipment
If a job requires certain equipment or gear to keep employees safe, employees should know what they need. This can include helmets, goggles, earplugs, or any other material that keeps employees safe. They should be trained on proper equipment use. Companies should also be continually inspecting equipment and vehicles to make sure that they meet all required safety codes .
Hire Enough People
Many workplace injuries take place because people are overwhelmed. Ensuring that there is enough staff in place to reasonably handle the duties expected of them is critical. Otherwise, mistakes can happen and people can get hurt.
Run A Smooth Operation
When people know where things are and what to do and are held accountable for these things, workplace injuries are frequently prevented. Make sure everything is clearly marked, there is no unnecessary clutter on walking paths, and facilities are in tip-top shape.