Common Workplace Injuries

Common Workplace Injuries

Accidents happen, especially in the workplace, and these accidents impact millions of individuals every year. These not only disrupt the routines and livelihoods of employees but can also cause significant financial damage to the employer. Preventing these events is a collaborative effort between both parties, and that effort begins with knowledge. Here is a list of some of the most common workplace injuries to help build an understanding of how to prevent them. If you are interested in learning more about workplace injury law, consider visiting with an experienced Mississippi lawyer from Lott Law at (228) 215-2787.

Slips and Falls

Among the most common workplace injuries are slips and falls, which may not sound serious but can often lead to significant injuries depending on the situation. These, while among the most common, are also easily preventable. Implementing proper safety measures such as proper signage, surface preparation, and traction cleats for slick or icy surfaces, can dramatically reduce the risk of employees tripping or falling. 

 

There are several different classifications of slips and falls, determined by the intent of the individual and the outcome of the incident. Slipping without falling occurs when a worker catches themselves from falling and is not injured. Falling on the same level includes incidents such as tripping over a level surface, falling while sitting, and falling onto an object of the same level. 

 

These incidents are classified differently from falling to a lower level, which would involve flailing or slipping from heights. Slips and falls also differ from jumping to a lower level, because jumping is a controlled and voluntary action, and is therefore not considered a slip or fall. 

Being proactive and taking preventative measures in the workplace can help prevent slips and falls with ease.

Falls From Heights

Heights are nearly impossible to avoid, no matter the profession or place of work, whether employees are stocking backroom shelves in a retail store or operating equipment at a construction site. This means that many workers can be at risk of falling from heights, which can result in injuries such as broken bones or internal bleeding. 

 

Any workers who deal with heights in their profession should adhere to Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) guidelines when operating in an elevated position. These regulations often entail specialized training and the use of personal protection equipment. Complying with these regulations can reduce the risk of injury and keep workers safe.

 

OSHA mandates that fall protection be provided in the workplace when individuals are working between four and eight feet above the ground, with specific heights depending on the industry. Employers are required to provide proper handrails and other fall prevention systems when there is a risk of fall-related injury to their employees. 

Harmful Substances

Many workers must interact with and handle substances that, if mishandled, can be dangerous or even toxic. While the use of these products may not be easily avoidable, proper training and labeling of harmful substances can keep workers safe in these conditions. Here are some common workplace substances to be aware of.

Chemicals

Exposure to harmful chemicals can lead to severe injuries and illnesses. Degreasers, asphalt fumes, and pesticides are all examples of common substances that could be encountered in the workplace. Exposure may occur through inhalation, contact with skin, or ingestion. To mitigate these hazards, it is important to equip workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, or respirators that are appropriate for the given hazard.

Diseases

When working in proximity to people, livestock, food products, or unsanitary conditions, diseases may also be a concern. Infection control measures can help mitigate the chances of employee illness, measures including frequent handwashing, sanitizing the work environment, and wearing facemasks around known contagions. 

Environments

Extreme conditions, such as high or low temperatures, air pressure changes, and even noise, can cause health and safety concerns. Assessing environmental risks can help prevent harm and keep the workplace safe. These measures may include providing proper ventilation, insulation, and noise control measures. Regularly monitoring the changes in the environment to ensure that the protections are adequate is also important. 

Struck by a Moving Object

Equipment

Many workplace injuries occur due to the use of powered equipment, such as lifts, transportation devices, and construction equipment. If workers are in the way of moving equipment, not properly secured, or are operating it improperly, injury may result. If you are interested in learning more about workers’ compensation in the event of an equipment-related injury, consider speaking with a Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer from Lott Law at (228) 215-2787. 

Falling Objects

Falling objects can also cause injuries in the workplace, ranging from mild to severe. Improper stacking techniques, unstable structures, or leaving items unsecured at height are all common factors in these injuries. Employers can mitigate these risks by placing warning signs and training employees on proper safety techniques, but since any object dropped from height could become a hazard, it is also important to provide safety gear like hard hats and goggles. 

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Other common workplace injuries are caused by repetitive motion. Some workers must complete the same rote motions or repeat many similar tasks, which can cause harm over time. One of the most common examples of repetitive motion injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve damage. This hazard affects a wide range of individuals from factory or assembly line workers to office workers. 

Ergonomic equipment and regular breaks help avoid repetitive motion injuries, by giving the muscles a chance to rest or by supporting the worker’s body in a way that reduces strain over time. 

Overexertion and Muscle Strains

Overexertion injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries, can often result from various factors including improper lifting techniques, manually lifting heavy objects, and manual labor without proper breaks.

 

The primary cause of overexertion boils down to improper technique. Lifting a heavy object from the back instead of the legs can put too much strain on the back muscles, which may result in personal injury. Employers can provide training on lifting, carrying, and pushing techniques to help employees avoid strain and overexertion-related injuries. 

 

Furthermore, frequent breaks, rest, and stretching during work hours can be effective in preventing muscle strains. Many workplaces also provide mechanical lifting equipment for heavy objects. Ready access to proper equipment, and a knowledge of when to use that equipment, can help effectively prevent exertion injuries.

Entanglement

Most modern workplaces employ some use of powered equipment, and improper handling of this equipment can lead to entanglement injuries. This occurs when a part of the worker’s body becomes caught or trapped in the moving parts of equipment or machinery. Depending on the size and power of the equipment, the injuries can be severe.

 

Preventative measures for entanglement injuries include guarding or shielding any moving parts that could harm an individual. Proper communication of when the machinery is operating is also important. Both of these measures will ensure that employees are aware of and protected from the potential dangers of the equipment.

 

However, the employee’s clothing must also be taken into consideration. Loose clothing can easily slip past guards and shields to get caught in machinery and increase the risk of accidents. Informing employees of the risk and providing properly fitted uniforms and PPE can help reduce these risks. 

Electrocution

Many industries also work closely with electrical lines and power sources, making electrocution another common workplace injury. This is a high concern in settings like construction, trades, and maintenance, where exposed power lines and lack of ground-fault protection can cause serious injury. However, even something as mundane as misuse of extension cords can become a risk, under the wrong conditions. 

 

In settings like offshore oil rigs or maritime environments, the presence of water can increase the danger of electrocution. Additionally, the use of metal ladders near power lines can increase risks. Employers can reduce the occurrence of electrocution by reinforcing safety policies around live power lines, quickly and efficiently disposing of damaged electrical devices, and maintaining any equipment or wiring that has the potential to become damaged. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States.” While this type of injury is not restricted to the workplace, many professions require the use and operation of motor vehicles. Warehouses make use of forklifts, roadside workers operate digging and transport vehicles, and shipping companies make use of delivery drivers. 

 

Therefore, many motor vehicle accidents can simultaneously be classified as workplace injuries. This can include crashes on public roads or off, as well as injury to pedestrian workers by a vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Leading Cause of Employee Injury?

Overexertion is the leading cause of employee injury, and it can occur when lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects. Implementing ergonomic equipment and proper training can help to reduce or prevent this type of injury.

What is the Employer’s Responsibility When a Worker is Injured?

Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees receive medical attention and first aid. For extreme emergencies, get the injured to an available doctor, hospital, or public medical service.

What Should a Supervisor Do in the Event of an Injury?

If the employee requires emergency medical treatment, prioritize the care of the individual. If the employee’s injury results from a specific event or series of events during one day or shift, instruct the employee to report their injury.

Workers’ Compensation

In the event of a workplace injury, the injured party may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are registered as an employee and the employer has workers’ compensation insurance, provided that the injury is work-related. There are many plans available, and the benefits can be helpful to support the employees while they are in recovery. If you are curious about common workplace injuries or the benefits of workers’ compensation, consider contacting an experienced Mississippi lawyer from Lott Law at (228) 215-2787.