If you’ve ever been injured on the job, you’re not alone. Each year, thousands of workplace injuries keep employees from being able to go to work. While many high risk jobs, such as construction work, truck driving, or work in the medical field, can put you at a greater risk of suffering an on-the-job injury, you can be injured at any job, even the lower risk desk jobs.
A workplace injury, even a minor one, can be life changing. According to Benjamin T. Cochran, Raleigh workers comp lawyer, a workplace injury can have difficult consequences, from the physical recovery to potential of financial losses.
In 2014, there were a total of 2,953,500 reported cases of nonfatal workplace injury and illness (in the private sector). Of the total reported cases, there were 916,400 cases that required days away from work with a median of 9 days away from work. The most common workplace injuries reported in 2014 include:
• Falls, slips, & trips (247,120 reported nonfatal cases, 1,075 fatal cases): Falls, slips, and trips can occur in any occupational field. According to the National Safety Council, a majority of falls can occur due to doorways, ramps, cluttered hallways, areas with heavy traffic, uneven surfaces, unguarded heights, unstable work surfaces, and ladders or stairs. Injuries from slips often result from a slippery floor or an icy sidewalk outside of the workplace.
• Sprains, strains, & tears (331,180 reported nonfatal cases): Sprains and strains are common musculoskeletal disorders that can occur in the workplace. A sprain is a stretch or tear to a ligament while a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Such work-related injuries can take place in a variety of occupational fields and are often a result of awkward postures, pressure points, repetitive motions, vibration and forceful exertions.
• Back injuries (162,720 reported nonfatal cases): A majority of workplace back injuries occur due to overextension or twisting of the spine. Such injury may occur from heavy lifting, improper lifting, pulling or pushing, and even poor posture while sitting. Other back injuries may include lower back strain and more severe injuries may include fractured vertebrae or bulging, herniated, and slipped discs. Just like sprains, strains, and tears, back injuries can occur from repetitive motions.
Workplace injury prevention
Although workplace injuries can occur to even the most careful of workers, you can reduce your likelihood of suffering a workplace injury by following workplace safety protocol such as wearing proper safety gear and take part in safety training. For example, if you want to eliminate the risk of slips, trips, and falls, you can be active in general housekeeping and eliminating any hazards throughout the workplace.
While your workplace should provide adequate safety training, it is up to you to be responsible and make safe choices that will keep you out of harm’s way and reduce your chance of becoming injured at work. You can also prevent further incidents in your workplace by reporting any unsafe working environments.