Discover the top 10 workplace injuries and how to prevent them
Have you ever been injured on the job? The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released numbers for 2014’s workplace injuries indicating how common injuries are. In all, there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal occupational injuries. That translates into roughly three injuries for every 100 workers.
Three-fourths (2.1 million, or 75 percent) of workplace injuries occurred in this employment sector, which in 2014 employed 82.4 percent of our workforce. Practically all of the remaining one-fourth of workplace injuries took place in goods-producing sectors of all kinds.
One report from the BLS using the 2014 data tabulated the nonfatal injuries and illnesses that required days away from work to recuperate. Overall, for private industry, the incidence rate was 97.8 cases of injury or illness per 10,000 full-time workers. While the report did not aggregate the numbers of injuries by cause, it did supply an incidence rate for all private industry injuries according to cause. The higher the incidence rate, the more injuries occurred. (The numbers below do not add up to 97.8 because they are a partial list of injuries and do not include illnesses.)
- Struck by, or contact with, an object, equipment, or machinery. Incidence rate: 24.0.
- Falls on the same level. Reasons for these kinds of falls include such things as slipping on wet floors, tripping over hazards, and falling on icy pathways leading to work. Incidence rate: 16.6.
- Overexertion, including injuries caused by lifting, pushing, pulling, raising, lowering, holding, carrying, or throwing items. Incidence rate: 10.7.
- Falls to a lower level. Such falls can cover anything from tripping down a short flight of stairs to falling off a roof or scaffolding. Incidence rate: 5.3.
- Motor vehicle or transportation accidents. A lot of folks drive as a part of their job. Incidence rate: 5.1.
- (Three-way tie). Slips or trips without falls, sometimes called bodily reaction. Even when there is no actual fall, trauma can happen to the body from twisting and jerking. Incidence rate: 4.0.
- (Three-way tie). Exposure to harmful substances such as toxins or corrosives, or exposure to a harmful environment. Incidence rate: 4.0.
- (Three-way tie). Violence or other injuries caused by another person or an animal. Incidence rate: 4.0.
- Repetitive motion. These injuries are usually marked by problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome that arise from constantly repeating the same action or actions (often called micro-tasks). Incidence rate: 2.7.
- Fires and explosions. Incidence rate: 0.1.
A different kind of report, one that focuses on costs to businesses, was released in 2014 by Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Research Institute for Safety. They discovered that, in 2012, the top 10 most disabling workplace injuries in the US had direct compensation costs of $60 billion. In their report, Liberty Mutual ranked the top 10 most costly workplace injuries. It’s interesting to compare this list with the one above from BLS.
- This category accounted for more than 25 percent of the costs of injuries in 2012, or $15.1 billion.
- Falls on the same level. Another 15.4 percent of workplace injury costs, $9.19 billion, were due to slips and falls on a level surface.
- Struck by, or contact with, an object, equipment, or machinery. This category amounted to 8.9 percent of injury costs, or $5.3 billion.
- Falls to a lower level. These kinds of falls resulted in $5.12 billion in costs.
- Other overexertions. This category includes injuries from bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, and kneeling, but not slipping, tripping, and falling. These injuries cost up to $4.27 billion.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Accidents on our roads came to $3.18 billion in direct worker costs.
- Slips or trips without falls, sometimes called bodily reaction. This category racked up $2.17 billion in worker costs during 2012.
- Getting caught in or compressed by equipment or other objects. This category moved up in 2012 from ninth to eighth in Liberty Mutual’s rankings. The total costs of injuries amounted to $2.1 billion.
- Repetitive motion. These injuries are usually marked by problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome from doing the same action or actions (often called micro-tasks) repeatedly. The total costs of injuries were $1.84 billion.
- Struck against an object, machinery, or equipment. The costs of injuries totaled $1.76 billion.
As you can see, the categories don’t line up precisely, but a fair amount of overlap exists, with many categories in roughly the same position on both lists. It’s clear that forceful contact with objects, falls of various kinds, and overexertion injuries cause the most trauma to workers.
Have Concerns? Talk With Us to Find Out More.
There is no substitute for proper legal help when making a workplace accident claim. If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, contact the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We have served injured South Carolinians since 1959, so we understand how the workers’ compensation laws work and know how to pursue third-party negligence cases aggressively. We can help you collect the money you’re entitled to, so you can concentrate on getting better and going back to work. If you have questions about your health problems or your workplace rights, call the Louthian Law Firm at (803) 454-1200, or use our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We believe you deserve more than a chance — you deserve a voice. You deserve the truth. You deserve justice.