Every type of employment carries safety risks, whether you work in an office or a factory. Millions of Americans suffer from work-related injuries on the job every year, temporarily — and sometimes permanently — impairing their ability to earn an income to support themselves and their families. The National Safety Council reports that every seven seconds, someone is hurt at work.
Knowing what the most common work injuries are can help you and your employer take action to prevent these accidents, but when preventative measures fail, you should also be aware of what to do after a workplace injury happens to you. This infographic and post will overview some of the most common workplace accidents, how they can be prevented, and how you can protect your best interests when disaster strikes.
Common White Collar Workplace Injuries
Although the top five most commonly occurring injuries at work happen outside of an office, a reported 86% of Americans sit at an office desk for work every day, which is why the common white-collar workplace injuries should not be overlooked. Office injuries can include anything from tripping on electrical cords to developing a repetitive stress injury from typing.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Office employees are at risk of slipping, tripping, and falling whenever an office manager fails to keep a tidy and well-maintained office space. For example, loose carpet, disorganized electrical cords, wet floors, cluttered floor space, and drawers that won’t stay closed put people at risk of falling, especially if a space is poorly lit. Falls can result in sprains, torn muscles, broken bones, and worse.
If your workspace is not neat or sufficiently illuminated, speak to your manager or the property manager about fixing these issues. He or she is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions.
Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs)
Repetitive stress injuries are extremely common among those that work at a desk all day. They develop from repetitive muscle motions like typing and consistently poor posture, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strain.
Avoid eye strain and muscular issues by getting up to stretch and take breaks frequently. Sitting too long every day can contribute to an increased risk of disease and even a shortened lifespan, so take short walks when you can. You should also make sure your workstation is ergonomically correct.
If your keyboard or desk chair does not offer proper support, talk to your supervisor about getting supportive desk accessories that will help you stay comfortable and develop better posture habits.
Common Blue Collar Workplace Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you are in the top five occupations to have an accident at work if you are part of the construction, production, shipping, or service industry. The nature of the labor in these industries tends to involve more significant hazards, such as heavy machinery, toxic substances, and high temperatures — all of which increase your risk of injury.
Some of the most common workplace accidents associated with these occupational hazards are enumerated below.
When working in an environment that involves operating specialized equipment, there is always a chance that the operator will get crushed, struck by, or caught in the machine. Equipment that causes falling or flying debris can also lead to cuts, concussions, and even blindness.
An employer should take all possible precautions to prevent these situations. They should enforce safe operating procedures and provide employees with the right safety gear and training before putting them to work in an atmosphere where flying or falling debris is an issue. They should also take care to place warning signage in the area and properly maintain company equipment to avoid dangerous malfunctions.
As an employee, you should also do your part to protect yourself by wearing your protective equipment at all times and staying aware of your surroundings.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number-one leading cause of work-related deaths in every United States industry, likely because millions of Americans drive some sort of vehicle for work purposes. Working with commercial trucks, forklifts, and other vehicles can lead to serious accidents and death if proper safety measures aren’t emphasized.
If you are not trained, qualified, licensed, or physically able to be driving a motorized vehicle, do not get behind the wheel, even if your employer asks you to. Do not drive a vehicle that does not have a proper seat belt or airbags; a commercial vehicle should always be equipped with the necessary safety features and have bright enough headlights as well as excellent brakes.
Many types of work involve the use of sharp objects. You don’t have to be operating a power saw or pruning trees to get cut; even a simple pair of scissors can lead to severe lacerations. Your boss can help you avoid these injuries in the workplace by providing training on the use of sharp objects, ensuring well-maintained cutting tools, and giving you protective gear to wear when necessary.
If you work in a warehouse or other similar setting, you probably do a lot of heavy lifting as part of your daily tasks. If you continually overuse your lifting muscles, you’ll exhaust yourself too quickly and likely end up with back injuries. To counter this, be sure you’re lifting with the strength in your legs instead of your back, and try not to twist your body as you pick up heavy objects.
Above all else, make sure your supervisor allows you to take breaks to give your muscles a break and prevent overexertion.
Toxic Fume Inhalation
Many industries subject workers to toxic gases, fumes, dust, and harmful substances like asbestos. Those who work in these kinds of environments are at a very high risk of skin, eye, and lung damage. As such, employers have to provide you with properly fitting safety gear, including goggles, gloves, and a fitted face mask to reduce your exposure to deadly compounds.
Construction and factory workplaces tend to be very noisy. When your ears are subjected to constant noise or loud noises that occur suddenly, you risk losing your hearing entirely. Ask your manager to provide you with ear protection and be sure to wear it at all times to protect yourself.
Injured? Get an Attorney to Advocate Your Case
In many on-the-job injury cases, work-related accidents can be tied back to the negligence of an employer. If you’ve been injured at work through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation.
You are not required to prove that your employer violated safety standards to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, your company may try to dispute your claim and evade responsibility, which is why you should work with an experienced attorney to help you file a workers’ compensation claim and recover damages.
With over 85 years of combined legal experience, you can trust Shook & Stone to handle your personal injury case in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ve helped countless clients receive benefits from work-related injuries and can provide options and advice in the event of a no-fault injury case.
Contact us at 702-570-0000 for a free case consultation today.