Workplace injuries are relatively common. According to the National Safety Council, there were 4.26 million work-related medically consulted injuries in 2021. While some jobs have much higher injury rates than others, all employers and workers should be aware of the most common workplace injuries, how to prevent them, and how to respond if an injury does happen.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, you have a right to pursue financial compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. If the negligence of a third party caused the injury, you could also have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Learn more about what to do after a workplace injury by contacting the experienced work injury lawyers of Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips, and falls were the third leading cause of workplace injuries in 2021, with an injury rate of 21.7 per 10,000 full-time workers. These accidents can happen in virtually any type of workplace, but the industries with the highest risk of slip-and-fall accidents include transportation, warehousing, and agriculture.
Common Causes of Workplace Slips and Falls
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified the following hazards as common causes of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace:
- Liquid spills.
- Ice, snow, and rain.
- Loose mats, rugs, and stepladders.
- Poor lighting.
- Cluttered walkways.
Preventing Slip-and-Fall Accidents in the Workplace
Both employers and employees can take the following preventive measures to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace:
- Notify a supervisor of slipping and tripping hazards.
- Clean spills and other slippery surfaces as soon as possible.
- Make sure walkways, stairs, and lobbies are free of tripping hazards, such as clutter, wires, cords, and boxes.
- Keep floor mats flat and ensure they do not become wrinkled or bunched up.
- Always use handrails when using stairs.
- Double-check that ladders and stepladders are fully open before use.
- Make sure ladder extensions lock fully, and only use ladders when the legs are stable on a flat, non-slippery surface.
- Ensure that ladders are free of slippery materials before use.
- Never go over the maximum weight limit listed on a ladder.
- Overexertion and Bodily Reaction
Overexertion and bodily reaction are the second leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries, accounting for 22% of injuries that require days away from work. This category represented the leading cause of nonfatal injuries before 2020; that year, “exposure to harmful substances or environments” became the leading cause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Injuries in this category are typically non-impact injuries or illnesses that result from excessive physical effort.
Common causes of overexertion injuries in the workplace include:
- Physical activities such as lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing.
- Repetitive motion injuries, caused by frequent typing, texting, use of a mouse, or the use of tools such as medical instruments, screwdrivers, knives, or musical instruments.
- Free bodily motion injuries, caused by actions such as bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, kneeling, walking, or running.
Securing workers’ compensation benefits for overexertion injuries can be difficult, as insurance carriers often dispute whether such injuries are work-related. You can learn more about seeking compensation for overexertion and the other types of the most common workplace injuries by contacting the work injury lawyers of Steelman Gaunt Crowley.
- Contact With Objects and Equipment
Injuries related to contact with objects and equipment are the third leading cause of fatal work-related injuries and the fourth leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries. Several types of injury events are included in this category:
- Workers being struck by moving objects.
- Collisions between workers and objects or equipment, including being pushed into or thrown onto an object, or bumping into, stepping on, or kicking an object.
- Body parts getting squeezed, pinched, crushed, or compressed between objects, in equipment, or in ropes or wires.
- Workers getting struck, crushed, or caught in collapsing materials, structures, or equipment.
- Injuries caused by friction or pressure between a worker and an object or piece of equipment.
- Injuries caused by equipment vibrations.
- Transportation Accidents
Auto accidents are one of the most common causes of accidental death and injuries in the United States, both in and outside the workplace. According to the National Safety Council, there were 1,253 work-related deaths involving motorized vehicles in 2021, and 25,830 injuries in 2020. This category includes all injuries suffered by vehicle occupants who were traveling on roadways typically used for travel or on shoulders and surrounding areas.
Some common types of work-related auto accidents include:
- Single-vehicle accidents involving a work vehicle.
- Collisions between two or more work vehicles.
- Crashes between personal vehicles and work vehicles.
- A worker being struck by a private vehicle, such as a motorist striking a roadway construction worker.
- A worker being struck by a vehicle driven by a co-worker.
Employees who are injured in work-related motor vehicle crashes typically qualify for workers’ compensation. If the accident was caused by the negligence of someone other than the worker’s employer or co-workers, that injured worker may also have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
- Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
Before 2020, “exposure to harmful substances or environments” was ranked as the sixth leading cause of work-related injuries and illnesses. However, the pandemic made this category the number one cause of workplace injuries in 2020.
This is a broad category that covers exposure to a wide range of potentially harmful situations, including:
- Noise and radiation.
- Extreme temperatures.
- Changes in air or water pressure.
- Harmful substances, including contagious and infectious diseases.
- Oxygen deficiency.
- Traumatic or stressful events.
Learn More From Our Missouri Work Injury Lawyers
Workplace injuries can be devastating for those who suffer them. Along with the pain and difficult recovery period, injured workers often accrue unmanageable medical bills while being unable to return to work. If you have recently suffered one of the most common workplace injuries, understanding your options for financial compensation — such as workers’ comp or a personal injury lawsuit — is important. Contact Steelman Gaunt Crowley’s Missouri personal injury lawyers today at (573) 341-8336 to learn more about your legal options after a work injury.