Getting injured at your workplace is one of the most dreaded occurrences. Not only does it stop you from doing what you love, but it also may result in incapacitation. As much as the employer has a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe working environment, employees are also expected to take relevant precautions as they go about their duties. The more understanding you have of the most common accidents at work, the better your chances of avoiding them and receiving compensation when one occurs.
Work accidents - Introduction
A work accident, also referred to as an occupational accident, is a discrete happening in the course of one's job that results in physical or mental injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on average, more than 5000 American workers are involved in workplace injuries per year. These figures are alarming and call for action. Some work accidents can make huge loss, for example “Warehouse accident”, the damage can be too bigger than your imagination, even death can happen here. A part of that action is receiving your rightful compensation. In order for you to be compensated in the event of any of these accidents, it must be proven that you are not at fault and that the employer's negligence led to your injury.
Table showing total injuries for selected occupations (2017)
|Industry||Total work injuries|
|Cleaning & maintenance occupations||329|
|Fishing, farming, and forestry||290|
|Administrative support duties||78|
|Social sciences duties||15|
|Personal care occupations||55|
|Library and education occupations||32|
10 most common accidents at work
- Slip and fall at work
- Falling from heights
- Walking into injuries
- Overexertion Injuries
- Machine entanglement
- Forklift accident
- Workplace crush
- Construction accidents
- Falling objects injuries
- Reaction injuries
The majority of workplace injuries in the U.S. involve slips, falls, and trips. These incidences are responsible for 15% of all accidental deaths. Slips happen when the friction between footwear and the walking surface falls below the threshold. Common causes include occasional spills, unanchored rugs, and oily/wet surfaces.
Trips occur when your foot collides with an object, making you lose balance in the process. Some common culprits include uncovered tables, wrinkled carpeting, poor lighting, and uneven walking surfaces. There are some measures one can take to mitigate against this risk. Modifying the surfaces and selecting the right footwear could prove handy.
2. Falling from heights
It is common to work at heights, but this can also be a serious hazard. This is an accident that is common among employees working on elevated areas like ladders, stairways, and roofs. When accidental falls happen, victims are typically left with serious injuries, which may take ages to heal. Such severe injuries could potentially completely incapacitate you.
Employers and employees need to work together to prevent height falls. If you are using a ladder, make sure that it is stable prior to climbing on it. Take the initiative of putting on the right protective gear. Employers could also train their employees on prevention of these incidents.
3. Walking into injuries
How embarrassing can it be to walk into a wall? That is just one of the many examples of walking into injuries. When you accidentally walk into cabinets, chairs, tables, doors, and walls, you risk hitting different parts of your body. Such situations emanate mainly from distracted walking or poorly positioned furniture.
To ensure the safety of employees, proper demarcations ought to be put in place and hazards removed. Employees, on the other hand, need to get rid of the habit of walking while using their cellphones. If visually impaired, you may find it helpful to stay in one place when possible.
4. Overexertion Injuries
No matter how fit you might think you are, intense physical exertion can trigger severe injuries. This happens mostly when you apply the wrong technique throughout your work. Whether carrying, pulling, lifting, holding, throwing, or pushing objects, you put your physical health at risk. One thing about this injury is that it does not immediately manifest itself. It may feel mild to start with but gradually progress into something more serious.
This is an occupational injury that can be mitigated when you develop the right work procedures. Learn to handle tasks that are within your physical capabilities.
5. Machine accident
There is a lot that can go wrong with the factory environment. From collision at factory to getting stuck in machines, you just never know what to expect. You may be fully focused on the task at hand, but just out of nowhere your hair or fingers get entangled in machinery.
Put on adequate personal protective equipment to ensure that you are safe from such factory accidents. In addition, fasten long hair or pull it back to reduce risks to injury.
6. Forklift accident
There are different types of forklift accidents, including getting struck by a forklift, forklift falls, and forklift overturn. Forklifts tend to have a lower turning radius, making them common accident triggers. In cases where forward vision is hindered, the chances of such an accident happening are at their highest.
Whereas one may consider training as a major step towards prevention, there is more to it. Forklift operators ought to be informed on the need to only progress when they can see where they are headed. Negligence must also be eradicated, and proper maintenance of the forklift is essential.
7. Crush injury
Construction, production, and manufacturing fields are notorious for crush injuries, but these can happen in any industry. Crush injury happens when an employer is using a machine that accidentally injures a part of their body like a foot, hand, or finger. When the machine is left to continue running, the worker's hand could be completely crushed.
The extent to which a crush injures you depends on the amount of exerted force. They typically lead to disability and expose you to secondary complications. When one happens, quickly obtain first aid care as emergency numbers are dialed.
8. Construction accidents
As indicated in the table above, construction site accidents are on the rise. This is attributed mainly to electrocution, falling objects, employers falling, or getting stuck between objects. Hand tools, materials, and floors jointly contribute to making construction sites prone to accidents.
In spite of the increase, the good news is that construction equipment accidents can be mitigated. Ground surfaces must be improved, and construction site workers need to be provided with the right protective gear. In addition, use equipment as designated and inspect them to make sure that they are in correct form. Remember these accidents can be fatal. Always put your health first before anything else.
9. Falling objects injuries
When an object falls from an upper position towards you, you are sure to surfer severe damage. Falling objects typically hit the head, but they can target any other body part, including the feet. Your employer has the obligation of keeping the work environment free from hazards. When working in high risk areas, you ought to receive protective equipment like hard hats.
When hit by falling objects due to negligence of an employer, you are entitled to worker's compensation. Effective legal help will see to it that justice is served.
10. Reaction injuries
These are injuries that entail one slipping or tripping without falling. They are commonly characterized by body trauma, muscle injuries, and many other medical issues. These injuries can impact any part of the body, including limbs, neck, and back.
These injuries normally happen when you physically react to a situation. However, that is not the only cause. An allergic or emotional reaction can also be to blame. If your workplace exposes you to a situation where you are bound to have this kind of reaction, you deserve to be compensated.
It is our hope that you found this article to be helpful. Keep watch of the occupational accidents discussed above for your own safety. In the event that you become a victim, do not hesitate to get justice. Remember that two things must be proven: (1) employer's negligence and (2) you are not at-fault.