According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers reported 2.6 million non-fatal workplace illnesses and injuries in 2021. At least one day of work was missed in 1,062,700 of those cases. While most people hope never to be injured because of their job, it happens frequently for a number of reasons. Many workers also experience some of the following painful injuries.
Injuries from Slips and Falls
Many people who experience an injury at work do so during a slip, trip, or fall. They might have slipped over on wet flooring, tripped over an obstacle, or fallen from a height. Alarmingly, many people severely injure themselves after falling from ladders, scaffolding, and platforms. In 2020, a ladder was involved in over 22,000 injuries, with the majority from occupational groups involving installation, maintenance, and repair services.
Muscle strains can be uncomfortable and expensive. Often, employees have to take time off work to recover and might even require specialist intervention to heal their affected muscles. While all muscle strains can’t be avoided, employees and their employers can undoubtedly reduce the risk in some cases. For example, workers might be able to avoid muscle strains while lifting if they are taught appropriate lifting techniques and are provided with lifting equipment for heavy items.
Many workers are required to work surrounded by loud noises emanating from machinery and construction equipment. Without hearing protection, prolonged exposure can lead to industrial deafness.
Workplaces can often reduce the risk of hearing damage by ensuring access to hearing protection, reducing exposure, introducing soundproofing, and encouraging regular hearing checks. However, it remains a problem, with the CDC reporting that 18% of all manufacturing workers experience hearing difficulties and 11% have tinnitus.
Operating vehicles is a core part of many businesses, especially those involved in delivery services. Accidents involving vehicles can be devastating, with employees experiencing life-changing injuries that can sometimes affect their ability to earn a living.
Not all vehicle accidents can be avoided, particularly when someone else was at fault. However, training and vehicle safety features might play a part in prevention. Always invest in safety technology for vehicles, such as predictive emergency braking, roll-over mitigation, and trailer sway control, and consider implementing training programs to help employees become better and safer drivers.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
While repetitive strain injuries are commonly associated with office workers using keyboards, such injuries can be linked to any tasks where joints are required to perform repetitive motions. A number of industries can present RSI and musculoskeletal disorder risks, such as factories, hairdressing, and home improvement.
According to OSHA, at least 1.8 million workers are affected by RSI each year. However, employers and employees can put steps in place to avoid it, such as by taking frequent breaks and using ergonomic equipment like keyboards and hand trucks.
These workplace injuries above are just a few of the many that employees throughout the United States experience every year. Out of the millions of reported workplace accidents annually, many are avoidable through training and safety measures. Whether you’re an employee or employer, now might be the right time to review your safety practices and ensure you’re doing everything in your power to keep yourself and others safe.