Workers’ Compensation insurance provides medical benefits and wage replacement to any worker who has been injured on the job. While construction leads the pack in terms of on-the-job injuries, all employers should take proper care that their employees are not put in harm’s way.
The 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index lists the five most common types of work-related injuries. The following are the most common work-related injuries, how they typically occur and what can be done to avoid them.
A same-level fall usually happens when a worker trips over debris, work tools or spills, falls and is injured. The majority of all falls that occur on the job happen on the same-level as a result of the employee slipping or tripping over oily or wet surfaces, tools left in walkways, or unanchored rugs or flooring that have different levels of traction. These falls can also happen when a worker is operating a tool that malfunctions, causing the employee to lose their balance and fall.
The best way to prevent same-level falls is to practice good housekeeping on the job site. Make sure that spills are cleaned up immediately, keep clutter or tools out of walkways and cover cables that run across open floors. Employees should be instructed to take their time and make sure that the areas that they are walking on are clean and free of debris. Proper safety equipment should be mandatory, including steel-toed and slip-resistant boots, hard hats and gloves.
Lower Level Falls
Lower-level falls are one of the most dangerous of all workplace injuries. These falls can result in grave injury or death; in fact, lower-level falls are listed as the second leading cause of workplace fatalities. The construction industry is where the majority of the most dangerous falls happen, with employees often falling from a ladder or rooftop to a lower level.
Less dangerous, but still of note are falls that occur in the health industry and retail and wholesale industries. Lower-level falls usually happen when work surfaces are also at fault. To avoid lower-level falls, employees should always wear proper safety gear when working at above ground locations, and all equipment, ladders, scaffolding, etc. should be in tiptop shape.
When the body is pushed beyond its healthy limits, overexertion can occur, making the employee far more apt to injure themselves. If the injury is minor, most employees will continue working, making the injury worse and putting them at risk of facing time off to heal and a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Overexertion is the easiest injury to prevent, if employees are encouraged to listen to their bodies and stop any action that causes pain or discomfort immediately. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating a well-balanced diet can also is extremely helpful in avoiding overexertion. Employers should teach proper lifting techniques and design the workplace so that excessive reaching is avoided.
Struck by an Object
Workers are struck or hit by an object when a tool falls from a shelf or something is thrown to them. The majority of these injuries occur when items fall off shelves, so large objects should never be stored above shoulder level. Tools must be stored so that they never hang over an edge. Throwing objects to or at employees must be avoided at all times.
Bodily reaction injuries occur when workers are straining the body either by repetitive motion, which can result in damage to the joint, muscle or bone, or free bodily motion, when an injury occurs while climbing, tripping, or reaching.
These injuries can happen in an instant, such as when a worker trips without falling, causing muscle strain, or when repetitive use of an injured limb becomes worse over time. As in the case of overexertion, a regular exercise routine can be a great help, as well as proper lifting techniques and well-maintained safety equipment and tools.
In order to avoid workplace injuries, employees should remember to follow proper workplace safety procedures. Always stop working at once if you have injured yourself or are in pain or discomfort of any kind.
If you are injured at work, you have the right to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Any employee that suffers a work related injury may file for and receive Workers’ Compensation, no matter who was at fault on the jobsite – the employer or the employee themselves, a customer or even a co-worker. If your employer does not follow proper procedure in securing these benefits, employees are urged to contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney immediately. The Law Firm of John A. Snyder in Atlanta, Georgia can help you qualify for Workers’ Compensation.