Common Causes of Workplace Injuries

Work is an unsafe place for many people in the U.S.

At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyers are committed to helping those who have been injured in a work accident or fallen sick as a result of an occupational illness.

Injuries to workers can result in lost wages, lost productivity, temporary or permanent disabilities, major lifestyle changes, serious pain and suffering and sometimes even death.

As far as the common causes of workplace injuries, the truth is there is these incidents can happen to anyone at any time. There is a wide spectrum of injury patterns and trends depending on the industry and role of the worker.

Common Causes of Workplace Injuries

To offer a snapshot, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that of the 272 total fatal injuries that occurred on-the-job in Florida that year, the breakdown was as follows:

  • Transportation incidents (crashes/ motor vehicle accidents) – 127
  • Falls, slips, trips – 52
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals – 39
  • Contact with objects and equipment – 28
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 21

The vast majority of those workers were employed in private sector industries, as opposed to government, and a disproportionate number were employed in:

  • Transportation (i.e., utilities, warehousing, wholesale trade, etc.)
  • Goods producing (i.e., construction, manufacturing, natural resources/ mining and agriculture/ forestry/ fishing.
  • Professional and business services (i.e., waste management)
  • Health services.

Nationally in 2015, the BLS reported nearly 4,840 workers were killed on-the-job. On average, that means 93 workers a week or 13 every single day. Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers realize that this doesn’t include the tens of thousands more who survive, but may have debilitating and lifelong injuries that leave them unable to work, either temporarily or permanently.

Of the private industry fatalities nationally, 1 in every 5 is a construction worker. Aside from highway collisions, the top causes of death for construction industry professionals are:

  • Falls – 39 percent
  • Struck-by object – 10 percent
  • Electrocutions – 9 percent
  • Caught in/ between – 7 percent

These are often referred to by work safety advocates as “the fatal four.” Elimination of just these four issues would result in the prevention of more than 600 construction worker deaths a year.

Types of Workplace Injury

As far as the kinds of injuries that employees suffer, this too depends largely on the kind of work they do.

For example, health care workers have high rates of back injuries and injuries due to workplace violence, while those in the manufacturing sector tend to have high rates of repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Those who work in forestry and agriculture have higher rates of lacerations and amputations.

A recent report by top work injury insurers analyzed the most common injuries resulting workplace accidents and found:

  • Sprains/ strains – 30 percent
  • Cuts/ punctures – 19 percent
  • Contusions – 12 percent
  • Inflammation – 5 percent
  • Fractures – 5 percent
  • All other – 29 percent

On average, sprains and strains resulted in 57 missed work days per worker. Cuts and punctures, meanwhile, typically resulted in a loss of 24 work days. Fractures and inflammation often resulted in the most productivity loss, with respectively 91 and 78 days.

The costliest injuries were:

  • Amputations – average cost of $102,500
  • Dislocation - $97,100
  • Electric shock - $55,200
  • Crushing - $54,600
  • Multiple trauma - $50,000

When it came to sprains and strains, the average cost was about $17,000 per worker. That was in the mid-range of average claim costs per injury for those that occurred most frequently.

Many strains are the result of what we call “reaction injuries.” These are injuries that are caused by slipping/ tripping or contorting without actually falling or making contact with another object. The result is that a person suffers muscle injuries, body trauma and a variety of other medical incidents. Our Fort Lauderdale attorneys can help victims assert their legal rights after suffering these injuries.

Another type of injury that is cited often in workers’ compensation claims are overexertion injuries. These would include things like lifting, pulling, pushing, pulling, holding, throwing or carrying. Workers have to be properly-trained and equipped in order to prevent overexertion injuries.

Finally here in Florida, another common cause of workplace injuries is heat stress. This can lead to heat illness, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. This condition is caused by exposure to heat, of which we have no shortage here in the Sunshine state. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) risk factors for heat illness include:

  • High temperature and humidity
  • Direct sun exposure
  • No wind or breeze
  • Low liquid intake
  • Heavy physical labor
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Low heat tolerance

Temporary workers especially are vulnerable to this illness, especially if they are jumping into a job without having much recent exposure to work in hot places.

Ultimately, it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace by providing workers the proper training, tools and protection to do their job safely. If you have been injured at work, our attorneys can help.

Contact Fort Lauderdale Lawyer Richard Ansara at The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 for a free consultation.

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