Common Workplace Accidents and Their Implications

What are the most common types of workplace accidents? If you’ve been injured on the job, what are the implications of this injury? We explain it all here.

Every seven seconds a workplace accident occurs according to the National Safety Council. The sad thing? These accidents are preventable.

Workers fall off scaffolds, Employees get struck by machinery, slammed into by motor vehicles, and injured from overexertion, just to name some examples.

The construction industry is responsible for one out of every five work-related deaths in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report states.

The reason? Construction workers are exposed to what OSHA determines as the “Fatal Four” injury risks. They include falls, struck by objects, caught between objects, and electrocution accidents.

But workplace accidents aren’t limited to construction sites. They occur in any type of office environment. Even a workplace that appears to be safe can present a risk for injury.

In this post, you’ll discover the top ten workplace accidents. If you’ve been injured, you may be able to receive compensation for your accident. So speak to an experienced worker’s compensation attorney immediately.

As laws differ from state to state, speak to someone in the state where you work. If you live in the state of Massachusetts, you can get your questions answered from a Massachusetts-based law firm.

Read on for the most common workplace accidents.

1. Slips and Falls

Slips and falls are caused by a number of factors on the job. For example, if you work in a supermarket you can slip or fall after a bottle of oil breaks open and spills on the floor.

Other instances that cause slips and falls include tripping over cords, slipping on ice, tripping over debris, walking on unstable surfaces or working in areas with improper lighting.

No matter the cause of the slip or fall, they can all lead to critical injuries including:

  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Concussions and brain injuries

It’s an employer’s responsibility to maintain safety standards. Managers should ensure spills are promptly cleaned up and floor areas inside and outside the building are slip-and fall-free.

Areas that can’t be attended to immediately need to be labeled. These accidents are preventable. When a facility manager is negligent, they put employees at risk for workplace accidents.

2. Struck-By Accidents

Struck-by accidents are one of the most common workplace accidents. Struck-by injuries typically occur in careless and messy workplace environments.

Workers can get struck by objects that fall, fly through the air, roll into them, or hit by swinging objects like a piece of machinery or piece of wood.

These workplace accidents can cause a number of injuries, including bone fractures, blunt-force trauma injuries, eye injuries, head injuries, deep cuts, and bruises, or even serious head injuries.

To prevent these accidents, facility managers should post signs where falling debris can hit someone. They should ensure materials are stored and contained safely to avoid accidents.

Managers should also assure workers wear proper eye protection, protective gear, and hard hats in unsafe environments.

3. Struck-Against Injuries

An employee who mistakenly strikes an object like a vehicle, wall or cabinet is at risk for injury. Sometimes these accidents occur when a worker isn’t paying attention to the task at hand.

How many times has a pedestrian gotten struck by a car, taxi, biker or another pedestrian while talking on their cell phone and not paying attention to where they are going. Imagine how much worse this can be in a construction zone.

People can get a struck-against injury if another employee pushes them into a wall or causes them to hit their head against a door or object when there is not enough room to walk around them.

Or when there is another object in the way such as a palette. As a result, workers can injure themselves anywhere on their bodies, including their heads, feet, neck or face.

If they’re hit against the object hard enough, it can turn into a severe injury that may make them unable to work and cause serious medical issues.

Reducing Risks

To reduce these risks, facility managers need to have policies in place like “no use of texting and talking on mobile phones in work areas.”

Areas should also provide enough space for employees to walk through and around. Potential hazards should be clearly labeled in a prominent position where they can be seen. Floor areas must also be free of clutter

4. Entanglement Accidents

Workers can get entangled by equipment or even natural objects such as trees. Other entanglements include being caught in rollers, gears, and other heavy machinery.

These objects can entrap employees rendering them unable to move. Their bodies get torn, crushed, scraped, and bruised. In the worst-case scenarios, a worker may lose limbs or even die from an entanglement accident.

Clothing and accessory items worn by workers can become entangled in equipment such as baggy clothing and jewelry. Or loose hair, appendages such as one’s fingers or toes when one wears open-toed shoes can cause an injury.

Employee Training and Proper Labeling

Workers need to be trained about possible safety issues. Employers should offer possible scenarios of entanglement hazards and how to avoid them.

For example, they should put into place rules. Long hair should be tied up out of the way of machinery, no jewelry should be worn around equipment.

Protective gear should be provided and worn at all times around this type of machinery to avoid accidents.

Proper signs should also be posted and areas marked in the vicinity of hazardous machinery.

5. Electrocution-related Accidents

Another common accident in the workplace is electrocution. When workers are around electric equipment with high electric voltages, they can receive electrical shocks. These injuries are dangerous and can even be fatal.

Some of the causes of electrocution accidents include exposed wiring, improperly installed electric wiring as well as other unsafe electrocution dangers.

Employees can receive a number of effects from an electrocution workplace accident– severe burns, cardiac arrest, nerve damage, brain and organ damage and loss of life are not uncommon as a result of being electrocuted.

This kind of accident can be complex since electricians may be outside contractors or subcontractors hired to perform projects.

That’s why injured staff should speak with a worker’s compensation lawyer so they can learn who the responsible party is and which benefits are available through workers’ compensation.

In this situation, they may be entitled to other benefits besides worker compensation.

6. Motor Vehicle Injuries

Motor vehicle accidents happen in multiple ways on the job. Some occur due to negligent drivers, faulty vehicles, and inclement weather.

Other motor vehicle accidents can occur to workers who spend their time working around motor vehicles that can injure them. A driver can hit someone on foot when his view is obstructed by an object that blocks his line of vision.

For example, a factory worker can be hit by a forklift driver. At a construction site, you can get struck by someone driving a crane or a tractor who can’t see you.

Managers should put strict driving rules and policies in place and train equipment workers in defensive driving strategies.

When negligence becomes the cause of an accident, a claimant may have the opportunity to sue a third party. The claim you file may provide additional benefits outside workers’ compensation.

7. Falling from Heights

Unfortunately, 42% of construction worker deaths occur from falls. Think about it. Every week construction workers risk falling off ladders, scaffolding, high platforms, off stairways, and roofs.

These falls can be the result of improperly built structures and surfaces that present dangerous safety hazards.

Accident prevention strategies may include fall protection for employees who work at high elevations. While all accidents won’t be avoided, effective safety training can decrease injuries caused by falls.

8. Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion injuries cause damage to the nerves, tendons, muscles, and ligaments that happen by doing the same motion over and over again.

These injuries are also called repetitive stress injuries because they happen over time as opposed to a sudden accident.

One example is when people who work on computers for the majority of the day get carpal tunnel syndrome. This disorder causes pressure on the median nerve which makes the hand weak, painful, numb, and unable to move.

If left untreated a person with carpal tunnel syndrome can experience a complete loss of function. Ergonomic equipment such as wristpads can be provided to help prevent this injury.

9. Overexertion Injuries

Workers overexert themselves all the time. Lifting heavy objects, pulling and pushing big loads, and carrying weighted items can be the causes of overexertion injuries.  Injuries result in pulled muscles, sore tendons, and torn ligaments.

These injuries can be caused by one incident or be the result of cumulative efforts of doing strenuous activities over an extended period of time.

10. Violent Confrontations

Violence can occur in the workplace at a moment’s notice. Co-workers may get into altercations with one another over a disagreement.

Other incidents include domestic violence perpetrated by someone an employee knows. When workers intervene and attempt to disarm the situation, they can be injured in the process.

Other examples include employees such as couriers who deal with the public who may be struck and assaulted by irate customers and unleashed dogs.

Management should train employees on how to avoid violent altercations and provide ways to report violent activity before the situation escalates.

The Takeaway: The Most Common Workplace Accidents and Their Implications

Have one of these common workplace accidents happened to you?  You may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation.

Fitzerald and Associates have helped accident victims secure maximum benefits and compensation for workplace injuries. If you’ve been injured on the job, contact us today for a free consultation to learn your legal rights.