Workers in New Jersey and across the country should pay close attention to the leading causes of workplace injuries. This information can help workers to identify injury risks in their work environment. They can collaborate with their employers and co-workers on finding ways to eliminate those risks through a combination of training, supervision and equipment.
According to the most recent edition of the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the following are the most common causes of non-fatal workplace injuries:
Injuries from overexertion, including back and musculoskeletal injuries, can occur when an employee lifts or moves heavy objects – or people. As NPR recently reported, nurses often suffer these injuries when lifting patients. In fact, nurses suffer back injuries at a rate that is three times higher than construction workers, according to NPR. These injuries can be avoided by teaching proper lifting technique and providing workers with lifting equipment.
Falls on Same Level
A slip and fall can lead to broken bones, head injuries and other serious harm. Winter weather conditions contribute to slip-and-fall injuries in New Jersey. As snow and ice are tracked into the job site, walking surfaces can become slick and dangerous. Employers should take steps to eliminate slip-and-fall hazards from the workplace, including cleaning up cluttered areas, fixing broken or uneven tiles and making sure all work areas have proper lighting.
Struck by Object or Equipment
Injuries involving flying objects, falling objects, swinging objects and rolling objects are common in the construction, manufacturing and warehouse industries. Workers can get hurt when moving supplies from one level to the next or when materials are spilled from higher levels such as bricks, pipes or tools. Workers should be provided with proper protective equipment, including head gear and eye protection, in order to avoid injuries caused in struck by accidents.
Falls to Lower Level
Construction workers face the risk of suffering falls from ladders, scaffolding or roofs or through holes that are not protected as required by state and federal regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 284 deaths occurred from these fall accidents in one recent year. Employers should provide workers with fall protection systems. Also, workers must receive training on how to work safely from heights.
Other Exertions or Body Reactions
As Healthline reports, these injuries are related to pushing, pulling, turning, throwing and catching. These injuries may also result from bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, moving objects, walking, running, climbing and other types of motions. Like overexertion injuries, these injuries can be avoided by training employees on how to use proper techniques and by providing them with tools and equipment that will allow them to safely do their job.
Many employees must drive as part of their work duties. It could be an occasional task – running an errand to get supplies – or it could be a regular part of the job – driving a tractor-trailer or smaller delivery truck. Employers should conduct thorough background checks before hiring drivers and properly supervise them after hiring. Any company-owned vehicles should be routinely inspected, maintained and repaired. Unfortunately, many workers are injured due to the negligence of other drivers. When such motor vehicle accidents occur, a worker may be eligible to pursue a third-party liability claim in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.
Slip or Trip Without a Fall
A slip or trip may not involve a fall, but it can still lead to an injury. The effort to maintain balance or halt the fall can lead to injuries such as sprains or strains that will require many weeks of recovery and leave the worker unable to perform his or her duties. All working areas must be kept clean and orderly to avoid the risk of tripping or slipping. All floors should be treated with no-skid waxes. Exits should be kept free from obstructions. Also, warning signs should be placed in areas that could pose a danger of slipping or tripping.
Caught-in/Compressed by Equipment or Objects
OSHA defines caught-in/compressed accidents as those in which a worker is “squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched or compressed between two or more objects or between parts of objects.” They are common in the construction industry as well as in other industries that involve the use of equipment or the movement of heavy objects. Events classified as “caught-in” include those associated with trench collapses, crush injuries related to objects that are rolling, sliding or shifting and other similar incidents.
Employees who are involved in repetitive tasks which involve awkward postures or straining of the connections between bones, muscle and tendons face a heightened risk of these injuries. Working on a computer is an example. Muscles can be stretched or compressed, making them less efficient and leading to fatigue, pain and discomfort. For instance, poor circulation and other problems associated with repetitive finger motions performed with a bent wrist can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, which may require surgical treatment to resolve.
Struck Against Object or Equipment
These injuries occur when a worker strikes an object that is stationary. For instance, a worker may suffer a concussion after hitting his or her head on the ceiling or bumping into a steel girder. These accidents tend to occur when workers are fatigued and become careless. Giving workers regular breaks and protective equipment can help to prevent these accidents.
Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey Workplace Injury Lawyer
If you were injured on the job, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey or New York, you may be eligible to pursue a third-party liability claim. It is important to get help right away from an experienced workplace injury lawyer. At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we can provide a timely, free and confidential review of your case. Simply call 1-800-LAW-2000 or contact us online today.