No matter how safe your job is, injuries happen in every workplace! From slips to burns, from carpal tunnel syndrome to back sprains, anybody who works is at risk of injury. We’ll cover the 10 most common causes of workplace injuries.
Overexertion means any time a person gets hurt while lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, or so on. This type of injury is by far the most common workplace injury and in no danger of losing its #1 ranking. A simple injury due to overexertion can put you down for days, months, or even years. Don’t ever take such injuries lightly. The most commonly injured body part is the back or spine. Such injuries aren’t just painful, but are also very dangerous and long lasting. Be sure to seek medical help if you’ve experienced a back injury. Don’t let your employer force you into continuing work after an injury.
Slip or Trip and Falls
The second most common cause of workplace injuries is a slip, trip, or other fall. This is almost always caused by slippery floors caused by spills or other unsafe conditions. A lesser, but significant amount of slips happen to people who are on their way to work and slip on snowy or icy walkways. Slips don’t injure spines as often as overexertion does, but instead frequently damages muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. This kind of injury can require extensive rehabilitation and even surgery. Be sure to get the care of an experienced medical professional, even if it at first appears to be “just” a sprain.
Struck by Object
Sometimes an object can fall from a higher position and injure a worker. Such accidents aren’t as common as slips, but more often cause injury. Falling objects may be things which are improperly stored on shelves, pulled down by another worker, or may even be another person falling from a height. A special concern in such cases is whether or not this sort of thing can happen again. A company with no safety policies in place may be creating an unsafe environment for all its workers.
Fall to Lower Level
When a worker is on an elevated position, such as a rooftop, ladder, or stairway, there’s always a risk of falling. It’s important that extra care is taken. Sadly, falling from an elevated position to a lower level is a common source of workplace injuries, and in some states is more common than being struck by an object.
Bodily Reaction is when a person slips or trips, but doesn’t fall. Imagine stepping on a wet patch and having your ankle twist, but remaining upright. These types of injuries are typically less severe, since the spine or head are often uninjured, but damage to knees and ankles is common and may prevent working during the rehabilitation period.
Struck Against an Object
When a person accidentally hits a hard object such as a barricade, door, cabinet, window, tables, etc. it is called Struck Against an Object. At first glance it may seem that its always the fault of the individual for getting hurt, but further investigation often reveals an unsafe workplace, repeated injuries by multiple employees, or other circumstances which indicate the employer’s need to adjust the work environment.
Car accidents happen to everybody, even when on the job. Jobs that require a lot of driving are especially prone to Highway Incident injuries. The huge number of cars and drivers out there ensures that this type of workplace injury is always in the top 10.
When a worker gets caught in or injured by a piece of workplace equipment it’s called a Machinery Accident. As you might expect, the most common injuries are to fingers and toes, though the power of some machinery can cause multiple severe injuries very easily.
Repetitive Motion injuries can be caused not only by things like typing, but by repeatedly straining muscles, tendons, and eyes. This type of injury is often disregarded early on, but can build into a painful and very harmful situation over time.
Exposure to Harmful, Caustic, Noxious, or Allergenic Substances
In the modern world we are surrounded by powerful chemicals and other substances which can cause damage when in contact with a human. Such contacts are the source of many injuries every year and can range from mild chemical burns to total disability, blindness, and even death.
The following are often in the top 10 in some states or in different years:
Assaults and Violent Acts – Think your workplace is unfriendly? Imagine getting attacked by a co-worker.
Contact with Temperature Extremes – Burns are always in the running for the top 10 causes of injury.
Rubbed or Abraded by Friction or Pressure – A very painful and scary type of injury, and disturbingly common.
Assaults by Animals – It’s not just postal workers who have to worry about getting bit.