When you head out to work, the last thing on your mind is that there’s a chance that you’ll get hurt or contract an illness at your workplace. While some workplaces pose more risk to employees than others, it’s important to know your rights when accidents happen. You should also be able to predict potential risks and know when to seek monetary compensation from your employer. In this article, we’ll outline 7 most common reasons why job-related injuries occur, so keep reading.
1. Trips, slips, and falls
The majority of worker’s compensation claims are filed due to injuries that result from slips, trips, and falls. These accidents strike employees who:
- Stumble and slip on an icy, oily, or wet surface
- Trip over due to cracks and holes in the floor, lighting issues, or clutter
- Fall off ladders, platforms, roofs, or high construction sites
There are ways to prevent such accidents:
- Firstly, you should regularly and carefully inspect your workspace.
- Secondly, you and your employer should comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (OSHA) fall protection requirements.
- Thirdly, if there’s a greater likelihood of falls in your working environment, you should know or be trained how to act when it does happen. You should seek medical attention even with minor back injuries, as they tend to have lasting negative effects.
2. Muscle strains and overexertion
What you need to know about muscle strains and overexertion injuries is that they are one of the main causes for chronic pain. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is the most prevalent in this category of job-related injuries. Chronic pain and lack of mobility that come with it can negatively affect your productivity. It’s therefore necessary to seek medical evaluation and to talk to your employer. In case that your workers’ compensation claim is declined, you should talk to your selected legal representative. There are many reasons for this type of job-related injury: improper lifting of bulky items
- Manual lifting without support
- Repetitive physical work without breaks
- Repetitive pushing, carrying, and throwing
- Carrying out small tasks on a factory line
- Balancing a stack of boxes
- Typing and clicking without an ergonomic keyboard, back support, and table
To avoid such issues, your employer should provide the necessary breaks, train you how to prevent muscle strains, educate you how to relax and stretch your muscles, purchase ergonomic equipment. If you’re experiencing chronic pain or discomfort, seek urgent medical attention.
3. Being hit by falling objects, equipment, or coworkers
While most of these injuries can be fairly light, like hitting a sharp edge of a counter or chair or hitting the head against the door, there are high-risk jobs where these injuries can be severe. This can involve severe hand injuries, traumatic head injuries, severed limbs or fingers, fractures, full bone breaks, partial or total blindness, and more.
This can be caused by
- Poorly fenced machinery
- Falling materials, debris, or tools
- Being caught in a wire or gears
- Falling load
- Walking into walls
- Tipping over heavy equipment
- Excessive vibration etc.
The best precaution measure is being aware of your surroundings and wearing appropriate safety equipment.
4. Crashes and collisions
If your job involves driving a vehicle, there’s always some risk of crash or collision accidents. For instance,as a warehouse worker who works on the ground, you could be hit by a forklift. Other examples include falling from a vehicle, being struck by an object falling from trucks, being hit by a driver under the influence etc.
5. Exposure to hazardous materials or environments
Some work environments include exposure to loud noises, hazardous chemicals, strong odors, and other occupational hazards. In all such cases, you should protect your ears, skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Employers and workers need to comply with chemical safety regulations, and have the necessary protective gear to perform the tasks in a safe manner.
6. Exposure to open flame and explosion
This is not one of the most common workplace injuries, but you should know what to expect in the worst case scenario. The casualty rate is quite high, depending on the proximity to the blast. Injuries due to explosion are classified into four types, based on level of impact on your organism, from primary to quaternary blast.
If you comply with the OSHA’s hazard communication guidelines, wear the necessary personal protective equipment, and perform regular maintenance for chemical safety data sheets, your worries should be at bay.
7. Violent confrontations with coworkers or animals
Violent confrontation is something no one should be experiencing at work, but it does happen. If you’re attacked by an employee or customer, it can lead to intimidation, harassment, and even physical assault. A zero-tolerance policy should be in place to prevent violent confrontation. Injury caused by animals can be a concern for people who work in nature or on farms. In that case, proper attire, following official guidelines, and staying alert are the best preventative measures.
If anything goes wrong and you feel that you’re entitled to monetary compensation due to loss of work or disability, you should talk to your lawyer. This way you’ll know how to properly file a claim and be fully compensated.