Common Types of Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents and injuries occur in every profession and at every type of workplace. Injuries can be serious and sometimes fatal, but with careful safety policies and preventive measures in place, all workplaces can provide a safe environment for its employees. While each industry has its own set of hazards, there are accidents that are common among all types of occupations. The three most dangerous industries identified by the number of serious injuries reported are agriculture, construction and transportation. In a recent post on Workplacesafetyadvice.com, the ten most common workplace accidents were named. Slips, trips, and falls in the work environment were identified as the leading cause of injuries on the job. Electrical mishaps and injuries resulting from manual handling rounded out the top three causes of accidents that resulted in three or more days lost at work. 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. And while fatal accidents have somewhat declined in recent years, the numbers reported throughout 2014 have remained steady.
Top Ten Types of Accidents in the Workplace:
According to the Workplace Safety Advice website, the ten most common accidents occurring in the workplace include the following:
- 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 in 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, getting hit by heavy equipment, becoming wedged between large objects and collisions with heavy trucks or equipment can leave workers temporarily or permanently disabled. 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 entangle the arms and legs of workers. Falls into open spaces or into heavy equipment, and accidents that result from a moment of distraction on an assembly line can cause amputations, mangled limbs, and even death.
- Office Workers: A common misconception is that an office setting is a relative risk-free environment. While many may think this type of work environment has few hazards, many injuries occur from repetitive actions, prolonged sitting 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 relates to jobs where workers are prone to inhale or come into physical contact with substances that are known carcinogens or those that can burn or damage skin tissue or organs. Construction workers, agricultural workers, transportation workers, auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers and shipbuilders are often exposed to such things as asbestos, lye and other dangerous 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 non-compliance 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