Common Types Of Workplace Accidents
Work injuries occur in every type of business and at every type of job site. Injuries can range from sprains, strains and contusions to broken bones, to spinal injuries and nerve damage, to concussions and may sometimes even be fatal; but all employers can provide a safe environment for its employees – with proper training, safety policies and preventive measures. While each industry has its own hazards, the most dangerous occupations by the number of injuries reported are agriculture, construction, transportation and health care.
Slips, trips and falls in the work environment are the leading cause of injuries on the job. Injuries while lifting and carrying anything from store merchandise and warehouse items, to construction and landscape equipment and supplies, to moving and aiding hospital and home healthcare patients are also common. Work-related trucking and car accidents round out the top causes of accidents. Injuries ranging from sprains, broken bones, loss of hearing, spinal and muscular/skeletal injuries and brain or neurological injuries were the most common among those reported. While fatal accidents have somewhat declined in recent years, the numbers reported throughout 2014 over the past decade have remained relatively steady.
Top 10 Types Of Accidents In The Workplace
Burns: Toxic chemicals, electrical components, welding equipment, open flames and hot machinery cause significant and some of the most serious of all injuries. Recovery periods are often lengthy and require multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Burns are common among those working in agriculture, transportation, construction and manufacturing industries.
Commercial Drivers: Truck drivers, delivery personnel, public bus operators, railroad and taxi drivers are all at risk for serious injuries that result from transportation accidents. Broken bones, head and brain injuries, internal organ damage and severe cuts and lacerations can result from collisions and accidents. A large number of these types of accidents can result in fatalities.
Construction: Construction workers face a host of on the job hazards. Falls from scaffolding or ladders, falls over debris or in holes, lifting heavy tools and material, defective equipment, or negligent conduct of another contractor on the job-site are just a few. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, muscular/skeletal injuries and neurological damage are common results of these types of accidents.
Electrocution: Working with electricity is dangerous. Accidents involving electricians touching live wires, electrical shocks and electrical components coming into contact with wet surfaces result in very serious burns and internal damage. Fatalities are common among those involved in electrical accidents.
Falls: Falls from high surfaces, off of ladders, roofs or scaffolding, or even falls on uneven surfaces or on stairs are among the most common types of workplace accidents. Construction workers and agricultural workers are at a high risk for these accidents, but slips, trips, and falls can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time causing broken bones, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries and paralysis.
Fatalities: Though fatal accidents in the workplace have slightly declined in recent years, they are still happening at a steady pace. Injuries that are severe enough to cause death are often preventable. Employers have a responsibility to their employees to provide a safe work environment that includes proper training, effective safety policies and protective equipment.
Health Care: Health care staff are prone to injury due to risks that are inherent. Nurses and patient care staff can incur injuries when lifting and moving patients in hospitals, residents in nursing homes and even in “home care” settings. Other risk for injury to workers include violent acts, dangers of infection, needles sticks and slip-and-fall accidents.
Manufacturing: Machinery used in the manufacturing industry is often dangerous. Grinding gears, industrial mixers, saw blades, presses and conveyer belts can quickly crush or amputate fingers, arms and legs. A momentary distraction on an assembly line can cause a life-long injury, amputation, and even death.
Office workers: A common misconception is that an office setting is a relatively risk-free environment. Many injuries occur from repetitive hand actions, prolonged sitting, heavy or awkward lifting, and violence in the workplace. Proper training on posture, providing ergonomic furniture and dealing with employee mental health issues can significantly reduce the injuries that often occur to the hands, feet, neck, back, shoulders, wrists and arms. Interpersonal skill training can reduce the likelihood of disgruntled employees that resort to violence as a way to deal with professional frustrations and disappointments.
Toxic Exposure: Toxic exposure occurs at jobs where workers may inhale or come into physical contact with chemicals, fumes or other substances that can burn or damage skin tissue, lungs or organs. Construction workers, machine operators, painters, toll and parking booth attendants, transportation workers, auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers and factory workers are often exposed hazardous gases and chemicals that can cause cancer, mesothelioma, burns of the nasal and respiratory system and damage skin tissue. Accidents with these types of elements can be serious and sometimes fatal.
Safety Laws And Enforcement
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) along with the United States Department of Labor are dedicated to protecting workers by providing laws and regulations that ensure workplace safety. American workers have a right to protection against workplace hazards and employers have a duty to provide workplaces that are safe and free from unnecessary hazards. With proper enforcement of these laws and regulations, employees can prevent many workplace accidents that can have serious or fatal consequences. Regular inspections by OSHA officials and strict penalties and fines for noncompliance are essential for enforcement of safety standards in the workplace. Constant review and amendments to current laws and regulations will ensure that changes in the work environment can be made safely.
With preventive measures and an eye on safety, workplace accidents can become less common among all industries. And when accidents do happen, Workers’ compensation benefits are available to help injured employees recover knowing their medical and financial responsibilities are being addressed.
Types Of Workplace Injuries We Regularly Handle
- Spinal injuries to the neck and lower back
- Herniated discs and nerve damage
- Soft Tissue injuries
- Shoulders, knees and joint injuries
- Hand, wrist and arm injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Crush injuries and amputations
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Foot and ankles injuries
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Facial disfigurement, surgical scars and Specific Loss of body part
- Aggravation of Pre-Existing injury or medical condition
- Heart Attack and Cardiovascular conditions
- Asthma and Respitatory disorders
- Loss of Hearing or vision
- Psychiatric/Pschological/mental claims
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD
- Death or Fatal claims
- Slip & Fall accidents
- Lifting and carrying injuries
- Car and Truck accidents
- Injuries caused by tools, equipment and machines
- Injuries caused or worsened by physical therapy
- Injuries caused or worsened by improper treatment