In 2013, 4,405 workers were killed on the job, according to OSHA. That’s an average of 85 deaths a week or more than 12 deaths everyday. In the same year, there were more than 1.1 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses between the private and government sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When a workplace injury occurs, it can be something minor that only requires short medical attention or something that requires days of missed work. Regardless, it is important to recognize which injuries occur most often and how to prevent future injuries.
What are the most common workplace injuries?
While staying safe at work is typically a priority for employers and employees, injuries can still happen. Below are statistics about workplace injuries.
The most common workplace injuries in the private sector, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Overexertion and bodily reaction, which accounts for 35 percent of all cases. This can be caused by lifting heavy items, bending, over-reaching, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures or repeatedly performing the same or similar tasks. Most commonly happens with: nursing assistants and registered nurses; laborers; and janitors and cleaners.
- Falls, slips and trips, which account for 27 percent of all cases. Of those cases, 17 percent were falls on the same level.
- Contact with objects or equipment, which accounts for 25 percent of all cases.
Other facts about workplace injuries:
- Workers between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered the most workplace injuries.
- Employees who were injured on the job most often missed 31 days or more of work.
- Employees who had been with an employer for more than five years were the most likely to suffer from a workplace injury.
How can I prevent workplace injury?
Some injuries in the workplace can be prevented. Below are ways to prevent the most common workplace injuries.
Overexertion and bodily reaction. To prevent these injuries, implementing proper ergonomics, fitting a job to a person, can help. Ergonomics, such as encouraging employees to stretch, can help lessen muscle fatigue and increase productivity while reducing the number and severity of work-related injuries.
Slips and trips. Injuries such as slipping and tripping can cause sprains, strains or tears. To prevent these types of injuries, it is important to keep work spaces clean and uncluttered, address slippery areas with non-slip rugs and label uneven walkways. If a spill occurs in a workplace, it should immediately be addressed and employees should be taught what to do if there is a spill. Handrails should also be installed in staircases on both sides.
Contact with objects or equipment. In order to prevent injuries that occur with contact with objects or equipment, employers should provide protective barriers and equipment. Employees should also be trained on how to recognize potential dangers such as entanglement hazards.
What do I do if I’ve been injured at work?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace and the law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. If you have been injured at work, it is important that you report the injury to your employer, even if it seems minor. Reporting injuries or symptoms to your employer as soon as you feel them can help you from getting more seriously injured or prevent others from being injured. Reporting early is also necessary if you are going to file for worker’s compensation.
Once you have reported your injury to your employer, seek medical attention. Seeking medical attention can help you find proof if your job contributed to your injury, it can help you get healthier faster and help determine which conditions contributed to your injury.
Have you been injured at work?
After reporting your injury to your employer, schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to help you heal properly to the best of our Ability.