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The Leading Causes of Workplace Injuries [infographic]

Posted on November 01, 2016

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 2.9 million nonfatal injuries in the workplace. That is a rate of 3 injuries per 100 full-time workers. It is a sobering statistic that shows the very real risks and dangers workers face every day. Whether working in an office or digging in a mine, the risk of injury or death is an ever-present reality.

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Leading Causes of Injury

From 2010 to 2014, the following were the primary causes of injuries in the workplace:

Material Handling – Representing 32% of all claims, material handling is a broad category that includes transporting goods, warehousing products, manufacturing goods, etc.

Slips & Falls – 16% of injuries involved slipping, tripping, or falling. These accidents frequently occur on icy surfaces, damaged flooring, or because of debris that makes it difficult to safely navigate a hallway, sidewalk, worksite, etc.

Struck by an Object – 10% of injuries involve workers being struck or colliding with objects in the workplace. These include being struck by falling goods within warehouses, collisions with heavy equipment, vehicle accidents, etc.

Tools (Including Power Tools) – Tools cause 7% of all workplace injuries. These tools include saws, drills, and hammers, etc. It also includes more innocuous tools such as staplers, copy machines, punches, etc.

Repetitive Stress – 4% of all workers’ compensation claims are the result of repetitive trauma. This trauma develops over a period after a time after a worker performs the same task on a regular basis. Activities such as typing, lifting, carrying, pushing, etc. can all cause repetitive stress injuries.

Most Common Workplace Injuries

Strains & Sprains – Strains and sprains account for 30% of workplace claims. The majority of these injuries are caused by overexertion while lifting, carrying, or otherwise moving materials and equipment around the workplace. Workers with severe strain and sprain injuries can lose an average of 57 days of work following the injury.

Cuts & Punctures – Cuts and punctures affect 19% of injured workers. These can be caused by power tools such as saws or drills, but they can also be caused by sharp objects such as nails, wires, and debris in the workplace.

Contusions & Concussions – 12% of workers’ compensation claims are for contusions and concussions. These often occur when workers are struck by objects, hit in the head by falling materials. Contusions and concussions are also common when workers slip and fall, hitting their head on either flooring, shelving, or other objects.

Inflammation – 5% of claims involve tissue inflammation. This is common in repetitive stress injuries such as typing, machine operation, etc. On average, inflammation injuries will lead to 91 days of lost work.

Fractures – Bone fractures affect 5% of injured workers. Fractures can occur when a worker slips and falls, when a worker is struck by another object, or when a worker is crushed between machinery or materials on the work site. When a worker suffers a fracture, it can lead to 79 days of lost work.

The remainder of claims include injuries such as electric shock, toxic inhalation or exposure, injuries caused by workplace violence, etc.

Most Common OSHA Violations that Lead to Injuries

There is a direct link between the most common injuries and the frequently cited OSHA safety violations. The following are the most commonly cited workplace violations and the injuries they can cause.

Fall Protection – Fall protection includes safety harnesses, railings, non-slip flooring, etc.

Most Common OSHA Violations that Lead to Injuries

There is a direct link between the most common injuries and the frequently cited OSHA safety violations. The following are the most commonly cited workplace violations and the injuries they can cause.

Deficient Fall Protection – Fall protection includes safety harnesses, railings, non-slip flooring, etc. Many slip and fall injuries including concussions, contusions, and fractures are caused by inadequate or non-existent fall protection.

Faulty Machinery or Machine Guarding – Malfunctioning equipment can jam or suffer a catastrophic breakdown. This can lead to cuts, lacerations, crushing, and puncture wounds.

Inadequate Respiratory Protection – Inadequate respiratory protection can cause long-term damage to the lungs, nasal passages, etc. Exposure to toxic substances can also lead to neurological damage, cancer, and other permanent injuries.

Dangerous Scaffolding – Improperly secured scaffolding causes numerous injuries every year. 72% of workers injured on scaffolding report that either planking or supports gave way. It is a leading cause of construction site accidents.

Malfunctioning Hazard Warnings – Faulty warning lights, bells, horns, and other devices that malfunction can place workers at considerable risk. When warning signals on vehicles, heavy equipment, or machinery fail, the failure can lead to collisions, entanglements, crushing injuries, etc.

Workplace injury attorneys in Nevada can help workers who experience these common types of workplace accidents. Workers who are injured because of an employer’s negligence can pursue claims for medical expenses, long-term care and treatment, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and the pain and suffering a workplace injury can cause.