Identifying the Most Common Work-Related Injuries
Injuries at work happen all the time, but that doesn’t make them any easier of an experience. Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries can experience physical, emotional, and financial setbacks – and they may face a difficult time securing the benefits or compensation they need.
At Shook & Stone, our lawyers have worked with many injured workers and families, and we’ve helped them recover millions in compensation over the years. While each case we’ve handled was unique, there are some types of work accidents and injuries that are more common than others.
Below are Some of the Most Common Work-Related Accidents and Injuries:
- Falls – Falls are a leading cause of injury in the workplace, and can occur in many different types of industries. Falls may include falls from heights off of ladders, roofs, or scaffolding, or falls on level ground caused by tripping over objects.
- Sprains and Strains – Sprains and strains are the most common types of workplace injuries. They typically occur as a result of overexertion, lifting heavy objects, or repetitive motions, all of which can put a strain on the muscles and joints. Poor posture and ergonomics can also contribute to these types of injuries. Sprains and strains can be painful and debilitating, often causing workers to miss time from work while they recover. In order to prevent these injuries, employers should provide training on proper lifting techniques, ergonomic workstations, and encourage workers to take frequent breaks to stretch throughout the day.
- Fractures or Broken Bones – Fractures or broken bones are a significant concern in many workplaces, particularly those in construction, manufacturing, and manual labor. These injuries can result from falls, being struck by heavy objects, or accidents involving dangerous machinery. Depending on the severity of the injury, fractures and broken bones can require extensive medical treatment and time off work for recovery. In some cases, workers may even suffer permanent disability or loss of function in the affected area.
- Burns – Burns can occur in a variety of workplace settings, especially in the manufacturing, food service, and construction industry. Burns can be caused by exposure to hot liquids, chemicals, or flames. Burns can be painful and can lead to scarring or even permanent disability. Employers can prevent burn injuries by providing training on proper handling of hot liquids, providing personal protective equipment such as gloves and face shields, and implementing safety measures such as fire suppression systems.
- Hearing Loss-Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises in the workplace, such as heavy machinery or construction equipment. Prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause permanent damage to the ears, resulting in hearing loss. Employers can prevent hearing loss by providing workers with hearing protection, such as ear plugs or headphones, and implementing measures to reduce noise levels wherever possible. Regular hearing tests can also help to identify any hearing loss early on, so that appropriate treatment can be provided.
- Overexertion – Overexertion can happen in any field of work, and in different ways. Workers can suffer overexertion if they perform too much lifting, pushing, bending, carrying, or other strenuous physical activity for too long and in tough conditions, such as the heat. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that overexertion injuries in the workplace resulted in more than $13 billion in workers’ compensation benefits in 2013.
- Accidents involving being struck by objects are frequently reported in industries such as construction and general labor. These incidents occur when a worker is hit by falling objects, protruding objects or structures, or even vehicles.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries – Repetitive motion injuries happen when a worker repeats specific movements and actions and suffers an injury as a result. Excessive repetition injuries can occur in a number of ways, including as a result of continuous bending or even typing on a keyboard.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Office Jobs?
In addition to repetitive motion injuries already addressed, these are some of the most common injures that happen among office workers:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of RSI that affects the wrist, hand, and fingers. It is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Office workers who spend a lot of time typing or using a mouse are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand. To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, workers should have an ergonomic workspace and take frequent breaks to rest their wrists and hands.
- Eye Strain – Office jobs also put stress on the eyes, which can lead to eye strain. Eye strain occurs when the eyes become fatigued due to excessive computer use or poor lighting. Symptoms may include headaches, watery eyes, and blurred vision. To prevent eye strain, workers should take breaks every 20 minutes, practice the 20-20-20 rule (looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes), and adjust their monitor’s brightness and contrast settings.
- Back Pain – Sitting for extended periods of time can also lead to back pain, which is a common problem among office workers. Poor posture, lack of exercise, and improper ergonomic setup can all contribute to back pain. To prevent back pain, workers should use an ergonomic chair that provides proper lumbar support, take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch, and practice good posture.
- Stress – While not necessarily a physical injury, stress is a common hazard among office workers. High levels of stress can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Employers can help reduce stress by fostering a positive work environment, providing adequate resources for employees, and implementing a work-life balance policy.
The Economic Impact of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
Work-related injuries and illnesses can have long-lasting economic effects on both the worker and their family. In addition to physical pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other costs can quickly add up, leading to a financial burden that can take years or even decades to recover from.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the total cost of work-related injuries and illnesses in 2015 was $161.5 billion, which includes both direct and indirect costs. The cost of direct medical expenses alone was estimated to be $50.6 billion.
Importance of Safety in the Workplace
Making sure that workers are regularly trained on proper safety procedures is essential for reducing the number of common workplace injuries. As part of this training, employers should review best practices for preventing and responding to accidents, as well as ensure that all employees understand their rights in the event of an injury.
In addition, employers should encourage open communication between supervisors and workers to identify potential hazards before they become serious problems.
How Many Workplace Injuries Happen Each Year?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.9 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2015 in the United States. Of these reported cases, 1.9 million resulted in days away from work, job transfer, or restriction of work activities. The most common types of injuries included sprains and strains (over half a million), wounds and cuts (nearly 400 ,000), and contusions (over 300,000).
Preventing Workplace Injuries
Employers and employees alike can do their part to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries. By implementing occupational safety protocols and adhering to federal guidelines, workers can be sure that they are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from harm. Some tips for preventing common workplace injuries include:
• Promoting a safe work environment by maintaining good housekeeping and keeping aisles, walkways, and stairs clear of obstructions.
• Following OSHA guidelines for the use of protective equipment and clothing.
• Creating ergonomic workstations that are tailored to each employee’s individual needs.
• Implementing job hazard analysis and other safety and health precautions to identify potential risks before they become problems.
• Educating workers on safe lifting techniques and proper body mechanics.
• Encouraging employees to report unsafe conditions or practices as soon as they become aware of them.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured at Work?
If you are injured at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even if your injury seems minor, it’s important to have it evaluated by a medical professional to prevent it from becoming more serious. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to go to an emergency room or urgent care center, or you may be able to see your primary care physician.
Once you have received medical attention, it’s important to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. In most cases, workers must report their injury within a certain time period, so make sure you are aware of your company’s specific policy.
When reporting your injury, provide as much detail as possible, including the date and time of the incident, the location where it occurred, and a description of how the injury occurred.
You may also need to fill out a workers’ compensation claim form at this time. Be sure to keep a copy of any documents you fill out, and make note of any conversations you have with your employer or insurance company regarding your injury.
Follow up with your doctor regularly to ensure that your injury is healing properly. If you are unable to work due to your injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the claims process.
How Shook & Stone Can Help?
If you or someone you love has experienced any type of workplace accident and injury and would like to learn more about your rights, our Nevada Workers’ Compensation attorneys are available to provide you with a free consultation. Contact us today to discuss your case by calling (702) 570-0000 or fill out the form for more information.