Thousands of employees sustain injuries at work every year in the United States. These injuries can be mild or catastrophic in nature, and can have effects ranging from a few weeks out of work to permanent disabilities.
Given the potentially devastating consequences of work injuries, it’s important for employers to do everything they can to prevent them.
How Common Are Work Injuries?
Work injuries are startlingly common, with one worker injured every seven seconds on the job in the U.S. This rate of injuries leads to 104 million production days lost due to work injuries in a calendar year.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the most common work injuries include the following:
- Sprains, strains, or tears
- Soreness or pain
- Cuts, lacerations, or punctures
These injuries are most often caused by the following work-related activities:
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Slips, trips, and falls
Additionally, some professions are more likely to get hurt on the job than others. The top five occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries resulting in days away from work include:
- Emergency responders
- Transportation and shipping workers
- Manufacturing and production workers
- Installation and maintenance workers
- Construction workers
How to Prevent Work Injuries
What makes work injuries so frustrating and unjust is that most are preventable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe and hazard-free environment for workers. When employers follow OSHA’s guidelines and implement the following measures, the rate of work accidents and injuries can be greatly reduced:
#1. Train Workers Properly
The best way to ensure a safe work environment is to train workers properly. This involves implementing mandatory training sessions and providing educational materials in languages that everyone on the job site understands.
Employers should not only give presentations on safety procedures, but they should also provide hands-on training, particularly if there is heavy machinery on the job site. It’s vital that workers know how to operate dangerous machinery properly and how to activate the emergency shut-off should the need arise.
#2. Identify and Remove Hazards
Any workplace is going to have hazards. It is employers’ responsibility to identify these hazards and remove them as soon as possible. If the hazard cannot be removed immediately, employers must demarcate the hazard with clear signage to prevent workers from wandering into dangerous areas.
#3. Provide an Easy Way for Workers to Report Issues
Employers should have a logbook that workers can easily report safety concerns or hazards on the job site. This logbook should be reviewed frequently and the reported hazards should be investigated as soon as possible.
#4. Give Workers Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Any employer who manages an industrial work environment that contains hazardous materials should provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) including bodysuits, goggles, gloves, and more to protect themselves.
High-quality PPE may protect workers from the following toxins commonly found in industrial workplaces:
- Heavy metals
- Petroleum products
#5. Keep Equipment in Good Condition
A functioning shut-off switch may mean the difference between life and death for a worker trapped in a piece of equipment. Similarly, it’s important that all equipment on the job site, no matter how small, be inspected and tested regularly to ensure they are working properly. It may end up saving a worker’s life.
The Devastating Consequences of a Work Injury
A work injury not only impacts the affected worker, but their family as well. When an employee is seriously injured on the job, they lose their ability to earn an income. This, combined with the sudden medical expenses they face after a work injury, can easily throw a worker and their family into a financial hole.
Aside from the financial turmoil, many injured workers may never return to the life they knew before their injury. The physical consequences of a work injury may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burn injuries
- Injuries requiring amputation
- Blindness or deafness
In the wake of such a devastating and unexpected work injury, it’s not right for the injured worker to have to foot the bill on their own.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
If you get injured in your workplace, you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. You should be able to recover compensation for virtually all work injuries. The only instances in which you may not be eligible for compensation include the following:
- You injured yourself on purpose.
- Your injury happened when you were away from the premises.
- You violated workplace safety rules and procedures.
- You were fighting at the time of the accident.
- You were engaged in horseplay at the time.
The best way to ensure you recover swift compensation is to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible, verbally and in writing. If you fail to report your work injury within 30 days in Missouri or within 20 days in Kansas, you may have a difficult time recovering the funds you need.
At DiPasquale Moore, our team has helped countless clients across Missouri and Kansas recover the compensation they need after a work injury. We know how difficult this time can be, and we want to help you through the legal process as soon as possible.
Contact DiPasquale Moore at (888) 743-1030 to schedule a free consultation.