How many workplace injuries occur each year? Unfortunately, the answer may startle you.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 888,220 private industry workers sustained a nonfatal injury or illness causing them to miss at least one day of work in 2019.
Of these 888,220 injuries, ten particular occupations saw larger amounts of injuries and illnesses than others.
These occupations were:
- Nursing assistants
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
- Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand
- Light truck drivers
- Construction laborers
- Maintenance and repair workers, general
- Stockers and order fillers
- Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners
- Registered nurses
- Retail salespersons
Within each of these ten occupations, the number of injuries increased from 2018.
The number of fatal workplace injuries also increased. To illustrate, there were 5,333 fatal workplace injuries in 2019 compared to 5,250 in 2018.
2019 had the largest number of workplace fatalities since 2007, with one worker dying every 99 minutes from a work-related injury.
The most popular causes of workplace fatalities were:
- Transportation incidents
- Falls, slips, and trips
- Violence and other injuries by person or animal
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments
- Fires and explosions
How to Prevent the Most Common Causes of Injuries in the Workplace
Transportation incidents and falls, slips, and trips were the two most common causes of workplace fatalities in 2019.
But, to prevent incidents, employers and employees can make easy changes within the workplace.
Transportation incidents are common. Worse, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of car accidents has increased further.
Despite the frequency of transportation incidents, employers and employees can take simple safety measures:
- Monitor your or your employees’ fatigue – Getting adequate sleep is the only true way to combat fatigue behind the wheel. For example, coffee and energy drinks are not enough. To prevent accidents, employers and employees should monitor and abide by hours of service regulations.
- Properly maintain vehicles, upgrade as necessary – When selecting work vehicles, employers should consider which safety features their choice has. Further, employers should routinely inspect vehicles and repair or replace them as needed.
- Limit behind-the-wheel distractions – Nearly 80% of crashes involve some driver inattention within 3 seconds before the crash. To combat this, practice distraction-free driving and encourage your employees to do so too. Limit eating, drinking, loud music, and only use electronic devices in hands-free mode.
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your employees do too – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 47% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019 were not wearing a seatbelt. In short, wearing a seatbelt is easy and it can save lives. For instance, buckling up while in the driver’s seat can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45%.
Falls, slips, and trips
Like transportation incidents, falls, slips, and trips occur often in the workplace.
However, employers and employees can implement basic safety precautions to decrease the potential for injury:
- Plan ahead – If employees are to be conducting work from heights, employers should prepare for the job by considering factors such as how the job will be done, what tasks are necessary, and what safety equipment will be needed for each task.
- Supply and use the proper equipment – To prevent dangerous or fatal falls, employers should provide proper ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear, such as harnesses.
- Conduct and attend training – Not only should employers provide safety equipment, but they should also train all employees on how to use it correctly.
- Clean spills right away – Don’t leave spills unattended. Even minor spills can prove dangerous if left without cleaning. Before stepping away from a spill to collect cleaning supplies, place a wet floor sign on the spill.
- Keep working areas well lit – Replace lightbulbs as soon as they burn out.
- Wear non-slip/properly fitted shoes – Proper footwear is vital for safety in the workplace. For example, workers should wear shoes that fit properly with non-slip soles.
- Cover cables and cords – If your working environment is filled with cables and cords, purchase and install covers to prevent accidents.
Injured on the Job? Keches Law Group Can Help.
Ultimately, thousands of United States workers will be injured on the job each year. If you’ve sustained a workplace injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Keches Law Group’s skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to assist you. Contact us today.