According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses occurred in the private sector in 2014. Almost half of those injuries resulted in missed work, transfers, and restrictions. Injured employees who are unable to complete their job duties may face loss of wages, benefits, and possibly even medical expenses. While there are a wide range of accidents that can take place on the job, a significant percentage of cases involve a few common workplace injuries.
Poor Safety Training
One of the most prevalent causes of workplace injury is inadequate safety training. In these instances, employees simply have not received the necessary information and/or tools they need to avoid slips, falls, and other work related accidents. They may also be overwhelmed by their work responsibilities or experiencing fatigue that can lead to accidents, particularly if the employer does not offer them the necessary support resources.
Workers who must carry out job duties that place strain on one particular muscle or region of the body may suffer from repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Data entry specialists, cashiers, and spa or salon employees are among the most likely groups to experience this injury.
Faulty equipment that is in disrepair, such as heavy machinery or farming equipment, can cause serious injury. Employers are typically responsible for maintaining these work related tools, but there may be cases wherein the equipment has not been serviced on a consistent basis. If the equipment has recently been purchased, the fault may lie with the manufacturer.
Handling of Hazardous Materials
All employees must be given the proper equipment and protective gear before handling hazardous wastes of any kind, such as dangerous chemicals or medical waste. Handling these substances without suitable training and gear may result in serious injury, particularly if the materials are inhaled or come into contact with the skin.
Chronic Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals, such as asbestos and many industrial substances can cause life threatening illnesses. Employees must be made aware of the hazardous chemicals that are on-site and be issued the proper protective gear, which may include safety goggles and gloves.
Co-worker errors are another common cause of workplace injury. Even if the injured worker is well trained and not experiencing any signs of fatigue, mistakes made by their co-workers can still lead to job related accidents. In some cases, this may even include work violence, such as escalated conflicts or disgruntled employees.
Vehicle Accident While on the Job
If an employee’s job responsibilities include driving, including construction equipment and company vehicles, there is always a risk of an accident. Even minor vehicle accidents can lead to missed work and lost wages, as well as medical bills. All work related vehicles must have some form of insurance coverage that protects both the vehicle and the driver. However, this policy may not always cover any and all expenses.
Serious injuries that occur on the job have the potential to diminish quality of life and cause extreme financial hardship. Speaking with an experienced legal professional offers employees the opportunity to determine if they qualify for compensation for their injuries, such as lost wages and medical expenses.