What are the Most Common Workplace Accidents?September 13, 2021
When you wake up for work every day, you are probably not thinking about the possibility of work-related injuries unless you are a safety manager or work for a safety company. This is one of the main reasons why people get injured on the job. Safety is not foremost in their minds, and they go about their business without taking the proper precautions.
In 2019, workplace injuries led to 105 million days of lost productivity, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and these accidents can run the range from minor all the way up to fatal. Although many workers can return to work right away or soon thereafter, others who are less fortunate end up with long-term disabilities that render them unable to work. Naturally, this also impacts their everyday quality of life as well. This discussion focuses on the most common kinds of accidents that occur in workplaces.
What are Slip and Fall and Traumatic Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents account for approximately 15 percent of all accidental workplace deaths and countless more injuries. Slips can happen when friction between a walking surface and a person’s footwear falls below the threshold. Reasons for this include a wet or slippery surface and a rug that is not secured to the floor. Trips are a bit different and also lead to falls. This is when someone’s foot collides with something, causing them to lose their balance. There might be debris on the floor; wrinkled carpeting; uneven walking surfaces; or an uncovered, low table.
Slip and fall accidents happen on the ground indoors and outdoors, but when they happen at heights the injuries can be much more serious for workers. Elevated areas such as stairways, roofs, and ladders can be uneven and/or slippery and present very real dangers to anyone who uses them. The risk for slip and fall accidents goes up when the area is not clean and/or not well lit.
Traumatic injures happen when heavy objects fall from heights and hit workers. An example of this could be a bucket of concrete mix falling from a scaffold and crashing into a construction worker who was walking on the floor. Another is when a stack of boxes is not stored properly and falls on a worker below. This category also includes being struck by an object or equipment, such as a malfunctioning machinery arm that hits someone.
Construction and factory environments are also known to have inherent dangers for employees. Aside from the slip and fall accidents, there are hazards from the equipment and machinery that are used. Common kinds of these accidents include falling objects, electrocution, crane and forklift accidents, fires, and explosions. One of the most traumatic kind of construction, factory, and manufacturing accidents is when a worker is using a machine that catches and crushes a finger, hand, or foot. Accidents such as this are devastating, but worst of all, like other workplace accidents, they are usually preventable.
What are the Other Common Workplace Injuries?
Many workplace injuries do not involve obvious accidents. Employees who overexert themselves when lifting, carrying, holding, pushing, pulling, or throwing objects can get hurt, and the symptoms can be immediate or show up later. Some of these symptoms include lower back pain; pulled muscles; elevated heart rate; and pain in other parts of the body such as the shoulders, chest, and arms.
Repetitive motion injuries are also common, are also not as visible to the naked eye, and can also be very painful. These are most often seen in employees who use their hands to perform their work, such as cleaning workers, manufacturing workers, and office workers. This kind of work involves performing repetitive tasks, which may cause joint wear because the bones and muscles can deteriorate over time. One example of a repetitive motion injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workplaces such as hospitals and manufacturing plants pose the threat of chemical exposure; toxic gases can lead to poisoning, asthma, and dermatitis, and there is also the risk of getting splashed with chemicals. Exposure to loud noises is another danger and can case progressive hearing loss or even deafness. Strong noises are another workplace hazard that is usually present in places such as industrial plants, airports, and bars.
What are the Leading Causes of Workplace Accidents?
The main cause of workplace accidents is employee and employer recklessness and negligence. Employers are responsible for keeping workplaces safe but are often lax in their duties. Yet even when employers do follow safety rules, workers may not hold up their end of the bargain and neglect to wear hardhats or follow the required protocols. Companies need to have security program and then take the necessary steps to promote safety culture in their workplaces.
Distributing a safety manual is only part of the picture; ongoing training and reinforcement are essential. There should also be regular maintenance and inspection; in addition, employers should provide workers with personal protective equipment and make sure that the work schedules are appropriate. Constant communication is a must.
The types of tasks and procedures should be guided by clear, realistic procedures with the right kind of oversight. Having emergency protocols in place is also crucial. Not knowing what to do immediately after an accident can lead to disaster, especially when someone is seriously hurt. Tools, equipment, and machines should also be inspected and maintained regularly, and proper training methods carried out. Well-trained workers are less likely to get in accidents.
What if I was in a Serious Workplace Accident?
More serious workplace injuries to the back, brain, and spine can lead to significant pain, loss of function, and an inability to return to work in the same capacity, temporarily or permanently. Other major injuries and illnesses such as amputations, compound fractures, burns, internal injuries, and cancers can be just as devastating and lead to long-term consequences. Workplace accidents can also lead to fatalities, which are shocking and devastating for all those involved.
Employees who suffer workplace injuries while on the job can be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, which employees are required to carry in most cases. However, the amount of benefits offered may not be adequate to cover the actual damages. When this happens, employees may have the option of negotiating with their company’s insurance provider, and this may or may not prove to be successful. If it is not, employees may want to consider filing third-party claims against the party or parties responsible for the injuries.
Workers’ Compensation allows beneficiaries to receive payments immediately, as long as they are eligible; this covers all of the claim-related medical expenses. There may also be compensation for lost wages plus permanent disability benefits. It is important to understand that the Workers’ Compensation system prohibits injured employees from filing liability suits against their employers in most cases. However, if the employer has no Workers’ Compensation insurance or it is inadequate, or if the employer intentionally hurt the employee, that employee may be able to sue the company.
Another choice is to file a third-party lawsuit against a responsible party such as another employee, a manufacturing company, or another outside vendor. For example, suppose an employee was using a machine and was seriously injured when the machine exploded. After some investigation, it was determined that the machine was defective. The manufacturer could be held liable for the workplace injury in this case.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can Help You with Your Workplace Accident Case
If you or someone you care for was seriously injured or became seriously ill because of a workplace incident, speak with the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will fight to protect your rights and take the steps necessary to get the benefits to which you are entitled. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.