People in different professions encounter a variety of different workplace hazards on the job. Some of those hazards are of more serious concern than others. For example, only a tiny percentage of employees work with animals or regularly encounter them on the job. Although animal attacks can lead to debilitating or disfiguring injuries and psychological trauma, they are far from a leading cause of work-related harm.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 75% of all significant workplace injuries fall into one of three general categories. Workers who are aware of the most pressing safety concerns at their jobs might be in a better position to protect themselves and/or recognize when filing for workers’ compensation benefits may be necessary. The following are the top causes of work injuries that lead to workers’ compensation claims in the U.S.
Exposure to harmful substances and environments
Workers often have to handle dangerous materials. Hospital workers end up exposed to pathogens, while those in manufacturing facilities could inhale asbestos or end up burned by chemicals. Electricity, noise, extreme temperatures, traumatic events, radiation and even oxygen deficiency are examples of dangerous substances and environments that can lead to worker injuries.
Overexertion or bodily reaction
The second leading cause of workplace injuries involves people pushing their bodies past the breaking point. Sometimes, it will be a single incident that leads to someone getting hurt. Examples might include when a nurse tries to lift a particularly heavy patient and tears their rotator cuff or injures their back. Other overuse injuries relate to repetitive job functions. Manufacturing professionals and even office workers may end up developing medical conditions related to doing the same tasks day after day on the job.
Slips, trips and falls
Some jobs have very obvious fall hazards present. Construction workers and window washers often do their jobs at a significant elevation, for example. Other workers may end up experiencing a same-level fall. Someone who slips in a spill or trips over a power cord could break a bone or develop a brain injury.
Regardless of whether someone gets hurt due to an obvious and common risk source or due to a very unusual situation, they may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Pursuing health care coverage and disability benefits can reduce the financial impact that a job injury may ultimately have on a worker.