Workplace injuries affect workers of all age groups and occur in a large variety of industries. They result in huge economic impact, both for individuals and for society. Different causes of workplace injuries require different legal strategies when it comes to obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.
The Cost of Workplace Injuries
According to the National Safety Council, the total cost of workplace injuries in 2019 was $171 billion. This figure represents expenses incurred and income not received due to preventable fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries throughout 2019. This cost, therefore, reflects the impact on society rather than solely on employers.
The $171 billion loss can be further broken down:
$53.9 billion loss in wages and productivity
$35.5 billion loss in medical expenses
$59.7 billion loss in administrative expenses
$13.3 billion loss in employers’ uninsured costs
$5 billion loss due to motor vehicle damage
$3.7 billion loss due to fire damage
Additionally, workplace injuries have a huge impact on individual workers.
$1,100 per worker was lost
$1.2 million per death was lost
$42,000 per medically consulted injury was lost
Some employers and their insurance companies attempt to get out of taking responsibility for their employees’ workplace injuries, leading individual employees and their families with medical costs, lost wages, and lost future earning potential, not to mention potential lifelong pain and distress. Employers may also fail to cover all of these costs when injured employees do not have the additional protection of working with an experienced workplace injury lawyer.
What is the Most Dangerous Industry to Work In?
There are multiple industries that can be considered the most dangerous industry to work in, depending on what metric you use. In 2019, these were the four most dangerous industries to work in.
The construction industry experienced the most workplace deaths.
The agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries experienced the highest rate of death per 100,000 employees.
Government employees experienced the most non-fatal injuries and illnesses that resulted in time off work.
The warehousing and transportation industries experienced the highest rate of non-fatal injuries and illnesses resulting in time off work per 10,000 employees.
The Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
The most common categories of workplace injuries account for 84% of all workplace injuries. These categories are overexertion and bodily reaction, slips, trips, and falls, and contact with objects and equipment.
Overexertion and bodily reaction explained
Overexertion and bodily reaction refer to injuries that occur due to job responsibilities putting excessive strain on the human body. This is the most common type of workplace industry. They can be further broken down into:
Repetitive motion injuries, which are when a repetitive task puts stress or strain on some part of the body. Common repetitive motion injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Repetitive motion injuries don’t usually involve strenuous effort or heavy lifting.
Non-impact injuries, which are the result of physical effort directed towards an outside object, including pushing, lifting, turning, holding, carrying, or throwing.
Overexertion and bodily reaction injury statistics:
Account for 31% of workplace injuries, for a total of 275,590 overexertion and bodily reaction injuries in 2019.
Occur at a rate of 27.0 per 10,000 full-time workers.
Most frequently result in back injuries
Most frequently affect workers aged 45 to 64
Most frequently occur in the transportation and warehousing industry
Typically results in 13 days of lost work.
Slips, trips, and falls explained
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace can result in serious injury or death. These are the second most common type of workplace injuries. There are four subtypes of slips, trips, and falls:
Slips and trips without falling occur when a worker catches themselves before falling due to a slip or trip. This can still result in minor injuries.
Falling on the same level occurs when a worker slips, trips, or falls while they are seated, or falls against or onto the same level of the building.
Falling to a lower level occurs when a worker falls to a lower level of the building. This may include falling through surfaces, falling from a collapsing structure, or falling from structures such as ladders, roofs, and scaffolding.
Jumping to a lower level occurs when a worker voluntarily jumps to a lower level. This may be due to a crumbling or collapsing structure or other dangers.
Slips, trips, and falls statistics:
Account for 27.5% of workplace injuries, for a total of 244,000 slips, trips, and falls in 2019.
Occur at a rate of 23.9 per 10,000 full-time workers
Most frequently result in sprains, strains, and tears
Most frequently affect workers aged 55 and over
Most frequently occur in the transportation and warehousing and agriculture industries.
Typically results in 13 days of lost work.
Contact with objects and equipment explained
Contact with objects and equipment is the third most common type of workplace industry. They can occur under a variety of circumstances, including:
Being struck by a moving object
Being caught or crushed in a collapsing structure or falling equipment
A body part being squeezed, pinched, compressed, or crushed between multiple objects, in equipment, or in wire or rope.
Bumping into, stepping on, kicking, or being thrown or pushed onto an object or piece of equipment
Friction, pressure, or vibration from a piece of equipment or other objects
Contact with objects and equipment statistics:
Account for 25.8% of workplace injuries, for a total of 229,410 slips, trips, and falls in 2019.
Occur at a rate of 22.4 per 10,000 full-time workers
Most frequently result in cuts, lacerations, and punctures
Most frequently affect workers aged 16 to 24
Most frequently occur in the construction, agriculture, and transportation, and warehousing industries
Typically results in 5 days of lost work.
Other types of workplace injuries
The remainder of workplace injuries are due to far less common causes:
Transportation incidents account for 5.6% of workplace injuries, for a total of 49,430 in 2019.
Workplace violence incidents involving attacks by people or animals account for 5.0% of workplace injuries, for a total of 44,480 in 2019.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments accounts for 4.2% of workplace injuries, for a total of 36,480 in 2019.