Work place accidents and fatalities occur every day. In 2015, 4,836 work-related employee fatalities were reported; that’s more than 93 a week or over 13 deaths a day. Fatalities related to work accidents are particularly high among Hispanic or Latino employees. And, fatalities are especially high in the construction field. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work accidents in 2015.
Here is a list of the top 10 reported injury types in Workers’ Compensation cases, compiled by leading U.S. insurance companies:
- Overexertion Injuries—These injuries occur from job related movements of pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, or throwing objects. Overexertion consistently remains the number one type of workplace injury.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls—Falling on wet, slippery floors or tripping over an obstacle can be avoided if employees pay attention to their surroundings and employers initiate safety guidelines, ensuring that spills and debris are promptly cleaned up.
- Falls To Lower Level—Falling from roofs, stairs, and ladders owing to slip and fall accidents or damaged, defective equipment can be prevented with employee training, diligence, and fall protection gear.
- Bodily reactions or other exertions— These are injuries that occur from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, and slipping or tripping without falling. They include muscle injuries (strains, sprains, and tears), major trauma, and other medical problems. Maintaining a clean workplace, clearly marking potential hazards, and employee diligence can prevent many of these incidents.
- Struck By Object—Head injuries are often caused by objects that fall from shelves or dropped by someone. These serious injuries can be prevented by storing or stacking materials in a secure manner and by employees remaining alert and aware of their workplace environment. Also, personal protection equipment, such as a hard hat, is helpful in keeping employees safe.
- Struck Against Object—Workers may fall or be forced into stationary objects, such as walls, doors, cabinets, windows, tables, or chairs; which can cause head, knee, neck, and foot injuries. These accidents can be prevented by employers focusing on maintaining a hazard free work environment and by employees who stay alert and aware of their surroundings.
- Vehicular Accidents—Professional drivers and employees who drive for work are often injured or die in traffic accidents. Employers can reduce these accidents by initiating safe driving policies and safe-driver training for employees.
- Machine Entanglement—Clothing, shoes, fingers or hair can get caught in heavy equipment and machinery when no precaution is taken. The proper use of machine guards, securing potential entanglement hazards, and training of correct equipment usage can avoid these accidents.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries—Repetitive motions such as typing and using the computer consistently can strain muscles and tendons; causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Employers can avoid these accidents by encouraging employees to stretch, providing ergonomic equipment, or cross training to allow job/duty rotation.
- On The Job Violence—Attacks caused by combative coworkers or customers can cause serious injuries. Employee training regarding communication and how to handle or avoid workplace violence can help prevent these types of incidents.
OSHA has had an intense effect on workplace safety in the last four decades with the support of their state partners, and the resolute endeavors of employers, safety and health professionals, unions, and advocates. Worker fatalities in the U.S. have decreased from about 38 a day in 1970 to 13 a day in 2015. Worker injuries and illnesses have fallen from an average 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.0 per 100 in 2015. With an increased and continued focus on workplace safety, by both employees and employers, these reductions in the number of job injuries will continue.