Written By: Dr. Jassin Jouria
A 43-year-old male is brought to the Emergency Room after accidentally getting hit on the head by a falling tree branch while on a job site. His manager called an ambulance after he noticed his worker appeared to be disoriented. The man says he has a headache and some upper arm numbness and tingling, but otherwise feels fine. When asked specifically, he does admit to neck pain. With obvious concern for a cervical spine injury, the ER physician immediately places a C-collar on the patient, then orders head and neck CT scans to evaluate for additional injuries.
How common are Workplace Injuries?
What are workplace injuries? Workplace injuries occur at any point while an employee is at the workplace. Generally, workplace injuries usually occur because the workplace environment is unsafe. According to Work Injury Source, workplace injuries are alarmingly common. The National Safety Council has highlighted even a more startling statistic. According to estimates, one employee gets injured on their job every six seconds. So, this goes to tell you how often workplace injuries occur, and it is at an all-time high. Below are some statistics about workplace injuries in the United States by National Safety Council:
- 540 workplace injuries every hour
- 12,900 workplace injuries every day
- 90,400 workplace injuries every week
- 7 million workplace injuries every year
As you can see, workplace injuries are common and happen daily not just in the United States but globally. This means that several safety measures need to be put in place to reduce the number of occurrences. Before proceeding, let’s talk about some common workplace injuries. This will help familiarize you with such injuries. You can then try as much as possible to avoid them in any way possible.
Common Workplace Injuries
There are so many types of workplace injuries that occur in the workplace. We will talk about just the top common workplace injuries to familiarize yourself with them so that you can avoid them and if any of them occur, you will be able to tackle them professionally. So here they are:
- Slips, trips, and falls – No matter who you are or which country you work – whether you work in an office, factory, or school – you have likely encountered a slippery surface at some point in time while working. Slippery surfaces might make you fall and injure yourself.
Also, your work might involve climbing ladders or working at heights. These might lead you to fall and injure yourself. Falls from scaffolding and other platforms like stairs might be dangerous as well.
- Cuts, Lacerations, Blunt, and Penetrating Injuries – Due to the nature of the office environment, you are bound to find implements and other equipment. These implements and equipment can end up leaving the user with cuts. These implements and equipment can range from paper trimmers to power saws and they make it easy to do mischief while at work. You can have a penetrating injury from nails or a blunt injury from a hammer.
Several cuts are due to a lack of employees knowing about adequate safety measures, proper training, and proper protective wearable. These protective steps can help keep you safe.
- Fights at Work – Many arguments can occur wherever people congregate to work. It can lead to a disagreement, especially if one of the workers has a negative attitude towards conflict resolution.
Surprisingly, fights in the workplace can result in nasty injuries, especially in a workplace environment where there are no rules. Measures need to be in place to deal with employee grievances which can help in reducing the risk of fights.
- Crashes, Collisions, and Equipment Malfunction Injuries – Accidents that result in a crash are common at a workplace. This might involve lorries, bikes, cars, or even such things as forklift trucks which can have serious consequences. A lot of these injuries might result from the equipment not working properly.
To prevent such crashes, employees should always wear their seatbelts, do not speed and other safety precautions should be in place. Organizations should be able to stress safe driving policies in the workplace.
- Electrocution and Burns – Due to the nature of some workplaces, workers are likely to suffer from electrocution-related injuries from working close to exposed wires and cords. Spoiled electrical outlets or not closed electrical outlets can also cause injuries to employees. A workplace lacking fire training or systems to avoid fire can cause fire-related burns.
- Heavy Lifting and Back Injuries- People involved in manual labor have to lift heavy objects. Lack of training in dealing with heavy loads can lead to injuries. The most common are back injuries and backache.
- Chemical Spill Injuries– People working with chemicals are always at risk of getting exposed to dangerous chemicals. Chemical-spill injuries can lead to severe burns, damage to the respiratory tract, and damaged vision.
What To Do If you Suffer Workplace Injuries?
When you get injured or one of your employees gets injured in the workplace, it is crucial to act fast to treat the injury.
Below are some of the things that you should do:
- Respond immediately after an injury by going to a safe place, assessing the situation, gathering information, and treating the injury. If you have the training to deal with the nature of the injury you have suffered, use your training to deliver first-aid. Seek medical assistance if you are unsure what to do.
- File an accident/injury report to let your employer know about the accident.
- Consult a doctor or nurse if you do not know how to deal with an injury. Also, seek medical assistance if you have ongoing complaints or symptoms.
Based on the nature of your injury, your employer might refer you to an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will try to understand the nature of your job. They will assess how you injured yourself and what can be done to prevent it in the future.
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