Work-related injuries affect many people all around the world. Some are mild and require just a bit of time off work, some cause moderate to severe symptoms, and some are fatal. People may fully recover after an injury, while others experience some degrees of disability long-term.
In the US alone, private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, as per Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2020.
Ten occupations accounted for over 38% of all private industry cases that required days off work in 2020. According to the BLS, these ten occupations are
Losing one's footing, getting the foot caught on or in something, and taking a sudden tumble constitute some of the most common workplace injuries and are a major cause of workers compensation claims. Wet areas that may have not been marked, spills, ice, snow, and rain can all cause these injuries, as well as ladders, loose mats, and rugs.
Sometimes tripping and falling just results in minor skin abrasions or bruises. In many cases, though, these accidents cause musculoskeletal injuries like sprains and strains. More severe injuries cause fractures. Poor lighting and cluttered places increase the risk of more serious injury. Employees should notify the employer if they notice any lights off, cluttered places, or other potential safety issues at the workplace.
Employees often have to undergo safety training when they start a new job, learning how to recognize and possibly correct dangers in the workplace, and how to correctly use protective equipment if necessary.
Especially in jobs at warehouses and similar buildings, they might need to use ladders and other potentially hazardous equipment, and it's vital they follow that training closely to avoid injuries. Even something as simple as holding onto the railing as coming up and down the stairs can help prevent workplace injury.
Repetitive strain injuries are common in the workplace, often due to frequent use of computers and keyboards. These injuries can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and low back pain or vision problems. Sitting in the chair for long hours without breaks and having poor posture can cause additional problems.
Unfortunately, these conditions develop over a period of years, so they often aren't immediately evident. Employee training and ergonomic equipment can reduce the negative impact of repetitive activities and the likelihood of injury. Physiotherapists can create exercise programs for daily use.
Workers like truck drivers and those who deliver in-home products and services spend a lot of time driving. Most car accidents are minor, causing sprains or strains. However, some can lead to life-threatening injuries, permanent disability, or even death. All drivers should get proper training, wear seatbelts, follow the traffic laws, and stay vigilant. Sadly, no one can control how other drivers drive and accidents happen.
This injury is common for workers in retail and warehouses professions. Products can fall from the shelves or be dropped by other employees. Often, the resulting accident is minor. However, serious head injuries do occur, causing cuts, lacerations, concussions, and lasting vision problems. Employees should follow the training material regarding how to store these objects and how to prevent injuries, and employers should ensure their workers aren't feeling rushed.
Employers should take the safety of their employees very seriously. Federal law entitles all employees to a safe workplace, and the employer is responsible for keeping the workplace free from health and safety hazards.
For this reason, most employers are careful to offer safety and health training and provide machines that are safe to use and special equipment as needed. They need to track any injury and illness, review the record, and closely monitor employees that get injured.
No one should get injured or killed due to working for their paycheck. Employees should always feel empowered to lodge issues they notice with someone in a supervisory role, including reporting any safety issues or health hazards. Any employee can file a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) by calling a toll-free number 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).
Anyone injured at work should report the injury to the employer as soon as possible and seek medical treatment. The claim must be evaluated in a timely manner, usually within a few weeks, and is then either approved or denied. If approved, worker’s compensation benefits replace part of the wages the employee would have regularly earned and cover some or all of the injury-related medical care. In addition, workers' compensation may cover job training if an employee can no longer perform their old job and needs to find a new one, either at their current company or elsewhere.
If a worker makes an injury claim and it is denied, they do have the right to legally contest the denial and have it reexamined.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.