Workplace injuries can happen anywhere, from construction sites to office buildings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in 2019—a sobering statistic that continues to demonstrate the importance of workplace safety protocols and procedures.
It’s important for both employers and employees alike to be aware of the common types of workplace injuries in both their industry and the environment. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common types of workplace injuries and discuss how to avoid them.
If you were injured on the job, our North Carolina workers’ comp lawyers can help.
Slips and Falls
Falls are the most common cause of workplace injuries and can occur in any work environment. Slips and falls often happen due to improper safety equipment, slippery surfaces, poorly maintained work areas, and inadequate warning signs.
Employers must be mindful of potential slip and fall hazards and take steps to reduce the risk of injury. This could include warning signs, better lighting, guardrails or sturdy ladders when working at high elevations, anti-slip mats where liquids may be present, or stairs with non-slip surfaces.
Back injuries are a common workplace hazard, especially for jobs that involve manual labor or being on their feet for long periods. Back pain is one of the most frequently reported workplace injuries, ranging from acute to long-term injury and disability.
Work conditions that can increase the risk of back injuries include carrying heavy objects, bending and twisting repeatedly, sitting or standing in one position for too long, and repetitive motions.
To prevent back injuries in the workplace, employers should provide workers with tools and equipment to safely lift heavy objects or offset their weight while standing. Employees must also be properly trained to use any equipment they may be handling.
Stress-related injuries might not sound serious, but employers should take them seriously. These types of injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can become chronic conditions resulting in long-term disability.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
This commonly-known condition affects your hands, wrists, and forearms. As a result of repetitive motions, the median nerve is compressed in the wrist area, causing intense pain and tingling. People who use computers for long periods or use tools—like plumbers, electricians, and mechanics—are more likely to suffer from CTS.
Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs)
These are work-related muscle and joint injuries that develop over time due to repeated movements associated with certain tasks. Common RMIs include:
- Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis – caused by overusing your arm muscles near the elbow.
- DeQuervain’s Syndrome – an inflammation of the tendon sheath on the thumbs side of the wrist.
- Trigger finger – an irritation of the tendon found in fingers that grasp objects.
If employees are doing the same task day after day, employers need to look for ways to help avoid RMIs, such as giving frequent breaks throughout the day or providing devices like wristguards.
When it comes to workplace safety, machine-related injuries should never be underestimated—they can even be deadly. This type of injury occurs when workers are caught in or between a machine and can result from a lack of proper training, defective parts, or misalignment of moving components.
Here are some common examples of machine-related injuries:
- Crush injuries: When a worker becomes stuck in or between two heavy components
- Cuts, abrasions, and lacerations: Often caused by contact with sharp edges or chains
- Amputations: This serious injury may happen if workers become stuck in machinery
- Burns: Contact with hot surfaces that lead to severe burns on the skin
- Fractures and bruises: These types of injuries often occur when a worker’s body gets stuck in moving machinery
Whenever operating any machinery, it’s important to be aware of all safety procedures and protocols. Employers must also provide workers with proper training to ensure that all machines are operated safely and efficiently. Otherwise, there could be disastrous consequences.
Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
Exposure to hazardous chemicals is a common workplace injury that isn’t always immediately recognized. From working with toxic and corrosive substances like solvents, pesticides, or asbestos to contact with contaminated surfaces, workers can be exposed to hazardous chemicals in many ways.
Workplace-related illnesses caused by hazardous chemical exposure can be prevented through proper planning and safety measures before beginning work-related activities. This includes ensuring workers understand their products and how best to use them without risking their safety.
Noise-induced hearing loss is a workplace injury that’s often overlooked. It can occur when you’re exposed to any loud noise over the course of your job, from construction equipment to factory machinery.
It’s a serious problem that can have long-term consequences. Over time, you could permanently damage your hearing if you’re not wearing the proper protective gear for your job.
It’s important to look out for signs that you might be experiencing hearing loss due to excessive noise in the workplace. These include:
- Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears).
- A feeling of fullness in the ear canal.
- Difficulty hearing others when background noise is present.
- Being extra sensitive to sounds, like loud noises feeling even louder than they should.
- Difficulty understanding soft speech.
- Withdrawal from social situations due to difficulty in comprehending conversations.
- Worsening of symptoms after exposure to loud noises.
Our North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Lawyers Are Here for You
No matter what type of injury you have sustained or in what field or industry, it is important to know that workers injured are entitled to certain rights and benefits, including medical care and lost wages.
In some cases, workers may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering from workplace injuries. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help protect your legal rights and guide you through the complex process of making a claim.
As North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we are dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered an injury in their workplace. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in workplace injuries, so we are well-equipped to provide comprehensive advice and support tailored to your situation.
We understand how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of a workplace accident, and our team is ready to help you exercise your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve.