Top 10 Causes of Disabling Work Injuries
It’s a dangerous world, and the danger doesn’t stop when you arrive at work. Workplace accidents cost businesses huge amounts of money. Some estimates project that in total, U.S. businesses spend more than a billion dollars a week on disabling, nonfatal injuries that could be prevented with a stronger focus on safety. If you’ve been hurt at work, here’s what to do next.
As a Richmond workers’ compensation attorney, we often see the tragic results of preventable accidents. In the interest of safety awareness, here are the top ten serious but nonfatal workplace injuries ranked by cost to businesses, according to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index:
10.Repetitive motion injuries involving micro-tasks – Repetitive motion injuries result from workers repeating the same motions over and over. Some examples are lifting boxes, using a computer mouse, scanning groceries or working on assembly lines. These injuries often present medically as tendonitis, carpal tunnel or bursitis. It is very difficult to get these types of injuries covered by workers’ comp.
9. Struck against an object or equipment – Also known as a “walking into” injury, this occurs when a worker walks or physically falls into a stationary object. That could mean an office worker walking into an open filing cabinet and injuring a shoulder or a construction worker slamming his leg into a barricade and torquing a hip.
8. Caught in or compressed by machinery or equipment – It’s the stuff of nightmares: getting a body part caught in a machine while it’s still in motion and you can’t remove your hand or foot as it gets mangled. This could be the office worker who digs a finger into the paper shredder to dislodge a jam and then loses that finger when the machine suddenly starts working, or a mill worker losing a hand while using a power saw.
7. Slip or trip without falling – Though many slip and trips end in falls, those who slip and catch themselves can suffer reaction injuries. For example, if you slip on an icy sidewalk and catch yourself by bracing against a car or grabbing a guard rail, you might injure your wrist, ankle or back.
6. Roadway motor vehicle accidents – Whether the worker is driving a company vehicle on the way to a job site or is a pedestrian working construction when they get hit, motor vehicle injuries are often serious causes of workers’ comp claims for a business. If you’re driving for work and are in an automobile accident, call the Richmond workers’ compensation attorneys at Commonwealth Law Group to protect your rights.
5. Other exertions and bodily reactions – These reaction injuries involve motions including reaching, bending, twisting, climbing or stepping. For example, if someone unexpectedly falls and you try to catch them, injuries to the joints of the arms and legs can occur. Bodily reaction injuries are often seen in police officers and nurses.
4. Struck by object or equipment – This category involves an object falling from above, such as a hammer dropped on another worker at a construction site. In the retail setting, this could be a heavy box falling on an employee from a top shelf.
3. Fall to a lower level – These injuries can be devastating, especially for construction workers, roofers or painters who might fall several stories to the ground. In an office setting, this could happen to a worker standing on a stool or ladder and falling to the floor. Falling down the stairs also fits into this category.
2. Falls on the same level – A freshly mopped floor or a snowy sidewalk present the same hazard: when a surface is slippery or uneven, and a worker slips and falls on it, serious injuries can result. Tripping over debris on a walkway is another common scenario for these injuries.
1. Overexertion involving an outside source – Overexertion is the most common and most expensive injury for businesses in the U.S. These injuries involve lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, bending, twisting, climbing or stepping. If a box being lifted, carried, pushed or pulled is heavier than anticipated, and an employee hears a “pop!” in their back or neck, that’s a classic overexertion injury. This is the most common type of disabling workplace injury.
If you’ve been hurt at work in Virginia, call the Richmond workers’ compensation lawyers at Commonwealth Law Group. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to determine if your work injury requires legal representation. It’s better to consult with an experienced attorney and not need us than to realize months into the process that you really should have contacted a workers’ compensation attorney when you were first injured. Call our legal experts at (804) 999-9999. Justice starts with CLG.