Most Common Causes of Work Injuries
A worker can be injured in a many different ways while on the job. In 2017 alone, there were 2.8 million reported work injuries in the United States. A workplace injury can happen due to the negligence of the employee or some can be caused by the fault of the employer for having an unsafe working environment or inadequate training. Not only is it the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, each employee also has a responsibility to themselves and to their coworkers to take appropriate caution when on the job.
Loss of wages after a workplace injury can be devastating for a family. Having the right workers’ compensation lawyers to fight for your rights and the benefits you deserve can help keep a family safe and financially secure. The Charleston workers’ compensation lawyers at Steinberg Law Firm have handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases. Let us use our experience to help you through yours.
Top Causes of Workplace Injuries:
1. Overexertion, bodily reaction:
Over 280,000 injuries, or nearly a third of all workplace injuries, are the result of overexertion while at work. Back injuries were the most common. The average time missed from work from an overexertion injury is 12 days. Overexertion injuries may involve non-impact injuries or repetitive motion injuries. A non-impact injury is caused by excessive physical effort directed at an outside source. The most common activities leading to a non-impact injury are lifting, pushing, turning, holding, carrying or throwing. A repetitive motion injury typically involves small movements that must be performed many times per day.
2. Slips, trips and falls:
Over 240,000 employees missed an average of 12 days of work due to slips, trips or falls at the workplace. Most of these injuries consisted of sprains, strains and tears. The following are common types of slip, trip and fall accidents:
- Slip and Trips Without Falling – Workers who trip and catch themselves before hitting the ground can still suffer serious injuries related to the trip, and their body’s reaction to prevent the fall.
- Falls From the Same Level – These accidents involve an employee who trips and falls to the ground, falls out of a chair, or falls against an object that is on the same level.
- Falling to a Lower Level – Many workplace accidents involve an employee falling from one floor to another, either from falling through a surface or falling from scaffolding, a roof or a ladder.
3. Contact with an object or equipment:
Approximately, 235,000 workers suffered a workplace injury as the result of contact with an object or piece of equipment. Most often, these injuries resulted in cuts, lacerations or punctures, requiring an employee miss an average of five days of work. Typical injuries involving contact with an object or equipment include:
- Being struck by a moving object
- Bumping into, stepping on, or otherwise colliding with a stationary object
- Being squeezed or pinched by an object
- Crushing injuries
- Vibration injuries
Other common causes of workplace accidents include:
1. Transportation accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for slightly more than 50,000 injuries, or about five percent of all on-the-job accidents.
2. Violence: Violent acts, committed either by people or animals, caused 44,000 workplace injuries. Recent data indicates that intentional workplace violence is on the rise. Over 2 million people report having suffered workplace violence every year. Workplace violence is the third leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, with automobile accidents being the number one cause. In the last year that data is available, there were over 10,000 reported work injuries caused by violent acts
3. Exposure to harmful substances or environments: Over 40,000 workers were injured due to being exposed to harmful substances or dangerous environments.
Top Causes of Work-Related Fatalities:
The National Safety Council (NSC) tracks the number of fatal workplace accidents each year. The most recent statistics show that nearly 5,200 people died as a result of workplace accidents in 2017. According to the NSC, most of these accidents were preventable.
1. Transportation accidents: Employees who frequently drive for business purposes are often injured in auto accidents. Whether it be a delivery driver, long haul truck driver, mail man or a forklift driver in a warehouse, these types of crashes happen often. Hundreds of thousands of workers are involved in automobile or truck accidents every year in the United States, and automobile crashes are the number one cause of work-related fatalities.
2. Slips, trips and falls: Falling from any height can cause serious injury or death, even heights that one would not think of as threatening. While certain jobs, such as construction workers, face an especially high risk of falling, any worker can trip on uneven flooring, slip on uncleared snow or ice, or stumble down an unlit staircase, causing them to fall.
3. Intentional Violent Acts: While violence may not be what most people think about when it comes to a fatal workplace accident, recent data indicates that intentional workplace violence is on the rise. In the last year that data is available, there were over 10,000 reported work injuries caused by violent acts. Many of these involved the working being killed as a result of the violence.
4. Contact with objects or equipment: Those who work around heavy equipment or machinery face daily hazards. Machine entanglement can easily occur when employees must interact with machines that have a lot of moving parts. Often, these accidents are caused when clothing is caught in the machine, pulling the employee’s body parts into it. Sometimes these incidents are caused by inadequate guarding of the moving parts of the machine. This can sometimes be a function of the unsafe design of the machine by its manufacturer. Other times the employer can remove certain guards due an effort to be more efficient, but causing an unsafe environment. In some instances, employees are not trained in properly locking out/tagging out procedures and machines are accidentally turned on.
5. Exposure to harmful substances or environments: Some occupations require employees work in a dangerous environment or work with hazardous substances. If an employee is not provided with sufficient protective gear, or their protective gear is defective, they can be exposed to life-threatening hazards.
The Five Occupations with the Highest Number of Annual Fatalities:
1. Drivers, sales workers and truck drivers
2. Farmers, ranchers and others in the agricultural industry
3. Grounds maintenance workers
5. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Other Fatal Workplace Accident Statistics:
- Approximately 93 percent of all workplace fatalities involve men.
- Workers between the ages of 55 to 64 were the most likely to suffer a fatal workplace accident.
- More than 800 contract workers died as a result of on-the-job accidents.
South Carolina Statistics:
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps detailed records of all fatal South Carolina workplace accidents. According to the more recent data from 2016, 96 employees were killed in South Carolina work accidents. The occupations with the highest rate of workplace fatalities were:
- Transportation and material moving (32 deaths)
- Construction and extraction (19 deaths)
- Installation and repair (11 deaths)
What Should You Do Now?
If you are one of the unfortunate Americans who have suffered one of the above injuries, you should have a team of experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers on your side. The attorneys and staff at the Steinberg Law Firm will aggressively represent you from the initial phone call to investigating the accident and making sure you are paid the appropriate compensation that you deserve.
We will assist you with:
- Explaining the work injury laws in South Carolina and what types of benefits you deserve;
- Gathering all of the appropriate documentation such as accident/injury reports from the employer, medical records and witness statements before we draft and file your claim with the workers’ compensation judge;
- We will figure out how much your wage benefits should be and explain how your weekly wage benefits are calculated;
- Determine if you are owed any lost wages and, if so, how much, along with calculating the appropriate interest on past due wages;
- Preparing you to testify at hearings before the judge, if necessary, along with any witnesses that are required to prove your claim;
- Hire and take the depositions of any treating physicians or medical experts that will be necessary to prove that your disability is related to a provable work injury;
- Ensure that all of your work-related medical bills are paid, including any money for possible future treatment that might be necessary;
- When the right time comes, negotiating with the insurance company for a fair and honest settlement of your claim to ensure you are fully compensated for your medical bills and lost wages and lost earning capacity going into the future;
- If your disability is permanent, making sure that you and your family will be fully taken care of in the future.
If you are injured at work, the best thing to do is to contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm. We have helped hundreds of thousands of injured workers get the benefits they deserve and helped to protect them and their families from financial ruin. There is no downside to contacting us to help you with your work injury claim. The initial consultation is free and all of our cases are taken on a contingency plan. Get the firm behind you.
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Steinberg attorneys have been awarded numerous distinctions, such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News & World Report, Gedney M. Howe, Jr. Award for Outstanding Public Service, the SC Leadership in Law award, and has been voted Best Workers’ Comp Firm in SC, among other distinctions.
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