Top Ten Most Common Workplace Injuries in the US
Most workers in the US do their best to follow safety procedures and avoid workplace accidents. Despite the myth that workers’ compensation fraud is a rampant problem, the vast majority of workers would much rather maintain their regular work schedule and their regular pay than face the challenges associated with filing a workers’ compensation claim. Even when successful – even if you don’t have to appeal and fight for your right to benefits – those benefits still do not equate to the value of earning your regular pay and fringe benefits for performing your usual work duties. Unfortunately, we cannot always avoid accidents and injuries at work. Following are the ten most common workplace injuries in North Carolina and throughout the US.
Injury from Overexertion
Injuries caused by overexertion are extremely common in the US workforce. They are caused by doing things that are physically challenging, such as lifting heavy items or pushing or pulling heavy, bulky, or awkward items. These injuries are typically tears, strains, or sprains of muscles or tendons. They are most common in jobs that involve construction, factory work, furniture moving, nursing, commercial driving, and other occupations that involve physical force and maneuvering heavy, bulky, or awkward items.
Injuries Caused by Slipping or Tripping and Falling Down
Injuries that result from slipping or tripping and falling at work are usually caused by slippery floors, cluttered walkways, or uneven flooring. For example, if the carpet is damaged, you might trip over an area where it is raised. If someone has recently mopped, you might slip on the wet floor. If something has spilled, you might slip in a puddle. If there is a great deal of clutter, of any sort, in the walkways of your work area, then this creates a trip hazard.
Injuries From Lower Level Falls
A lower level fall, or a fall to a lower level, occurs when you are in a multi-level building or at a height, such as at the top of a ladder or on scaffolding. Falling from a height or from one level of a building or construction to another can create serious and disabling injuries. Such a fall can even be fatal. The workers that are most at risk for such injuries are in the construction and maintenance industries, though there are many other occupations that require workers to engage in their job duties at heights that are far from ground level.
Injuries Caused by Bodily Reactions
Injuries caused by bodily reactions are also very common, though many people are quite unaware of this. They occur when your body automatically reacts, often in an effort to avoid an injury, but in doing so, results in an injury. For example, if you slip on something, but manage to avoid falling by somehow miraculously maintaining your balance, but straining a part of your body in the process, this is a bodily reaction injury. Another example could be moving quickly to avoid getting hit by a falling object, but, again, straining your body in the process.
Injuries From Object Impact
An injury from an object impact is one that results when some kind of object falls on you, slams into you, or in some other way impacts your body. This can happen when a box falls from a high shelf or when someone working above you drops a tool. It could also happen if someone was using a tool near you that slipped out of their hand and happened to impact your body. For example, imagine a construction worker with a hammer that suddenly slips from their hand and hits you, working nearby. Another example would be a box falling from a stack of boxes in a warehouse. In the case of someone who moves furniture, it could be as simple as dropping one end of a couch on your foot, resulting in an injury.
Injuries Caused by Impacting an Object
This sounds similar to an injury from an object’s impact, but in this case, you impact the object. For example, if you are accidentally pushed into a wall or a shelf while working. This could also occur if you trip over something and your body slams into a shelf, counter, wall, or other objects.
Injuries From Work-Related Auto Accidents
Injuries from work-related auto accidents are common in industries that require employees to drive. You are not usually covered for auto accidents that occur during your commute to or from work unless you are also paid for this time, which is unlikely. However, if your job requires that you drive to complete errands, to deliver items or furniture, or for any other work-related purpose, then you can file a workers’ compensation claim for a work-related auto accident.
Injuries Caused by Accidents Involving Machinery
Anyone who works with heavy machinery and equipment is at risk of accidental injuries involving this machinery or equipment. Often, these injuries are quite serious and may involve getting a limb trapped in a machine. The limb (typically hand, arm, foot, or leg) could be crushed, mutilated, or even completely severed in such an accident.
Injuries From Repetitive Motion or Stress
An injury from repetitive motion or stress is caused by any activity that requires you to repeatedly move the same muscles and tendons in such a way that the stress accumulates and causes a repetitive motion injury. A very common example of this is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the hands and wrists are repeatedly moved in the same way in the course of work-related duties. Job duties like typing or using a hand-operated machine are common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, repetitive motion or stress injuries can affect almost any part of the body, with spinal injuries also being quite common.
Injuries Caused by Violence in the Workplace
Injuries that are caused by violence in the workplace can occur in any occupation and are the one entry on this list that is typically not accidental. While the actual injury that occurs may not have been intentional, the violent act itself is. For example, someone at work may be angry with you, may lose their temper, and may shove you. Perhaps they did not intend for you to fall down or impact the wall, for example; but they did intend to shove you. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of death in the workplace is violence or homicide.
Do You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in North Carolina?
If you have been injured at work or in the process of completing work-related duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, every case is unique, and the difficulty that you encounter in seeking your benefits will vary by industry and by injury. The best thing that you can do to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the benefits that you are entitled to be to speak to a determined North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. At Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC, we have the experience to guide and represent you in the process of seeking workers’ compensation for your work-related injury.