3 of the Most Common Workplace Injury Types and How to Avoid Them
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020. In addition, there were 4,764 fatal work injuries that year.
Employers are responsible for making sure that employees enjoy a safe workplace and have the appropriate training necessary to ensure they are not injured on the job. Below are some of the most common types of workplace injuries, along with a few tips on how you can avoid them.
Those in the transportation industry are at a high risk of workplace injuries. The BLS reports that in 2020, transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event with 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3 percent of all work-related fatalities.
These accidents may be caused by driver error, drunk driving, distracted driving, and defective vehicles or vehicle parts. Employers are responsible for making sure to keep company vehicles in good repair and enforce safety measures.
Action: Always wear your seatbelt and follow safe driving recommendations when behind the wheel. Avoid taking any medication that may make you drowsy. Take regular breaks and be familiar with the maintenance procedures required for your vehicle.
Repetitive Motion Stress Accidents
When you repeat a certain type of motion—such as reaching for the mouse on your computer, typing excessively, or carrying large boxes—over and over again, you risk developing a repetitive motion injury. These usually involve muscles, tendons, ligaments, and chronic inflammation. Without treatment, they can progress to more serious injuries.
Employers are responsible for providing ergonomic equipment that helps minimize these types of injuries. If you start experiencing pain, it’s up to you to let your supervisor know and to come up with a solution that will help minimize the risk of injury.
Action: If you work at the computer, make sure you have a good ergonomic setup. For other repeated actions, take care to protect your back by always using good form to lift (bend your knees). If you start to experience pain, check with your doctor and see if you can use braces or other equipment to help.
In 2020, 805 workers died in falls, and 211,640 were injured badly enough from a fall to have to take time off work, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls from a tall height, but falls can happen anywhere, even in desk jobs.
Action: When working from a ladder, roof, or scaffolding, make sure your employer has set up the proper safeguards including railings. Wear slip-resistant shoes and take care when climbing a ladder. Scan the area before beginning to work to make sure your weight will be supported, and move carefully from location to location.