Workers compensation is a form of insurance designed to help employees recover from injuries sustained in the workplace. Every state has different laws pertaining to workers compensation programs. Benefits provided to workers may include medical expenses, death benefits, lost wages and rehabilitation services. In most states, any business with at least one paid employee (even if that employee is temporary) is required to carry workers compensation insurance.
Nobody expects to be injured on the job. In fact, many employers dedicate a large portion of their budget to educating employees on safe practices, in addition to re-vamping facilities to meet safety codes.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1.1 million injuries happened in the workplace in 2011, with an average recuperation time of eight days.
We’ve compiled the top ten most common workers compensation injuries, along with the positions that file the most claims every year.
Overexertion arises when one lifts, pulls, pushes or throws something, causing injury. This injury occurs when a muscle is pulled, or a joint is forced to move beyond its typical range of motion. This is most commonly seen in factory jobs, construction jobs, or jobs where physical labor is necessary. This is also commonly seen in police officers. This is the most common injury seen in the workplace, according to a study from the Department of Labor.
Many of the slip, trip, and fall claims arise from workers slipping on wet floors around the workplace. Many of these cases are also related to individuals slipping and falling on snowy walkways. Many security workers, groundskeepers, and store clerks can fall victim to wet floors such as in a store with a freshly mopped floor, or a groundskeeper walking around the perimeter of the building.
Falls to a lower level typically happen when a worker falls off a ladder, a roof, or falls down a flight of stairs. Roofers falling from a roof, construction workers slipping off a multi-level workspace, and teachers falling down stairs are all instances of falling to lower levels.
A bodily reaction injury may occur when one trips or slips, avoids falling, but still sustains an injury such as a twisted or sprained ankle. This can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Most commonly this is seen in police officers and nurses.
While very plain, this injury occurs most commonly when something falls off a shelf, or things are dropped by another worker onto a lower level. Office workers, along with restaurant & retail workers are all in danger of being struck by something.
This injury occurs when an individual falls into something, or is physically forced into something such as a bookshelf, barricade, or other stationary object. Office workers and factory workers can easily become a victim of falling into something.
Especially in the cases of truck drivers, one of the top causes of injury is an accident while driving (for business purposes) on the roadway. This is also a common occurrence for traveling business representatives and police officers.
Machinery accidents are typically reported in cases where large, heavy machinery has injured a worker by crushing or mutilating. Most commonly seen in factories or construction workers, these accidents can have huge medical cost ramifications. Many states have enacted laws that require training for employees before allowing them to operate equipment, along with maintenance requirements for machinery to keep it in a safe working state. Keeping employees knowledgeable on equipment, along with keeping that equipment maintained are two important factors in protecting employees from injury.
A repetitive injury is hard to pin-point, but is harder to prove. These injuries stem from workers doing the same motions over and over. Some examples of repetitive motion injuries can include using a mouse, sitting, lifting boxes, and working on an assembly line. Medically speaking, common injuries from repetitive or cumulative motions are tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and bursitis.
According to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "375 workers were killed in shootings while on the job in 2012. Robbers were the assailants in 33 percent of the workplace homicides involving shootings in 2012, while coworkers accounted for 13 percent. There were two incidents in 2012 where at least 5 people were killed in workplace shootings; a total of 12 workers died in these two incidents. From 1992 to 2012, 140 government workers were shot and killed by a coworker while on the job." While nobody expects violence in the workplace, it does happen.
There are four positions that make up 20% of the total number of injuries: Police/Security officers, Nursing Aides/Orderlies/Attendants, Janitors/Cleaners, and Tractor-Trailer/Heavy Truck drivers. Due to the high physical activity required by these positions, along with the exposure to dangerous situations, these jobs are considered some of the highest risk positions for injuries.