Q: What are common workplace injuries of which I should be aware?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2011. Of those incidents, certain injuries were definitely much more common than others. The likelihood of you being exposed to the hazards that cause these injuries will depend on your job and the industry you work in, but overall, there was one category of injury that popped up the most often: sprains, strains, and tears.
Sprains, strains, and tears accounted for 38 percent of total injury and illness cases requiring days away from work. What caused these injuries?
- Overexertion in lifting or lowering – 22%
- Fall on the same level – 12%
- Slips and trips, without falling – 7%
- Violence – 4%
- Fall to a lower level – 3%
- All other causes – 52%
The BLS also broke down the parts of the body that were most commonly injured in these types of incidents:
- Back – 36%
- Shoulder – 12%
- Knee – 12%
- Ankle – 9%
- Multiple – 8%
- Arm – 4%
- Wrist – 3%
- Neck – 2%
- Hand(s) - 2%
- Foot – 2%
- All other – 9%
Sprains, strains, and tears are probably the most common because they can truly happen anywhere, to anyone, and in any industry. The fact that overexertion in lifting or lowering is the main cause, and that the back is most affected, shows that perhaps in a rush to get things done, people are not lifting properly. It's important to remember that whether you're loading cargo onto a truck, or unpacking boxes of printer paper at the office, you need to lift from your lower body, not your back.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you need a good workers' compensation lawyer. The Harrisburg lawyers at the Law Firm of Schmidt Kramer have helped hundreds of Pennsylvania workers and can help you get the compensation you deserve.