An overview of job-related injuries in the United States
Data from a 2014 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes the number of injuries in both the private and public job sectors. The private sector had a higher count of non-fatal injuries, with nearly 2.8 million occurring in 2014. This translates to just under 2 injuries for every 100 workers. By comparison, the public sector had a much lower injury count with approximately 722,000 injuries occurring nationally. However, this translates to a much high ratio of injury occurrences with number of workers. The public sector had 5 injuries for every 100 workers. These numbers were no doubt inflated by occupations like law enforcement and firefighting. Both of which have high occupational injury rates.
The non-fatal injuries in the private sector were distributed quite unevenly between the different types of industries. The service-providing industry had the most injuries at over 2 million of the 2.8 million total occurrences. This is roughly 75% of all of the injuries that occurred in 2014 in the private sector. However, the service industry employed over 80% of the entire private industry workforce. The goods-producing services accounted for the final 25% of injuries. On the other hand, the public sector saw a higher rate of injury among local government employees than among state government employees. In fact, 4 out 5 injuries that occurred in the public sector took place on a local level.
What are the most common worker’s compensation claims?
So, you are familiar with the number of non-fatal injuries that occur in the United States in a given year. Now, the key is to determine which hazards are most apparent in your workplace. Additionally, identifying these hazards and their consequential injuries will help you streamline training and safety protocols. Employers need to be on the lookout for injuries that appear a number of times within the workplace. Here are the 5 of the most common injuries that result in a worker’s compensation claim.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries- These injuries, also called cumulative trauma disorders, occur when an employee performs the same action (or inaction) for an extended period of time. These injuries can result in stretched or torn tendons and ligaments that can cause pain and reduce productivity. Repetitive motion injuries could come from bending at the waist for long periods of time, hunching over a keyboard, wrist pain from carpel tunnel, and a variety of other basic actions.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls- These types of accidents account for a high percentage of workplace injuries. They can occur in any workplace. Construction sites dealing with scaffolding, ladders, and other high structures are prime environments for falls. Injuries from slipping are common in restaurants, department stores, and other commercial centers.
- Workplace Violence- This may be a surprising fact, but workplace violence is one of the top contributors to work-related injuries. Especially in the public service sector. Violence can erupt between employees, or with unhappy customers or civilians. Employers can combat this trend by increasing training and working to make their employees as safe as possible.
- Back Injuries- Back-related injuries can result from a few different sources. First, repetitive motion injuries can result in torn or stretch tendons in the lower back. However, overexertion and lifting or moving with improper form and posture can cause an injury immediately. Employers should provide information and training on how to prevent these injuries.
- Automobile Accidents- These hazards are especially applicable to employees who spend a lot of time on the road. Truck drivers, delivery drivers, homecare nurses, and a number of other occupations spend hours on the road every day. Employers need to be aware of the dangers driving presents, and should come up with ways to mitigate those dangers.
Employers need to be aware of the types of injuries their employees face, as well as how frequently those injuries occur. Additionally, the 5 hazards above are some of the most common in the United States amongst all occupations. Employers should consider examining their workplace to be sure these hazards are well addressed. Conducting a hazard assessment to identify any lingering dangers is always a smart move. Employers should always be on the lookout for ways to improve the safety in their work environment.