Reported workplace injuries have decreased over the years, going from 4.2 million in 2005 to just a little over 3 million in 2013. Unfortunately, work-related deaths and injuries are still a serious problem in the United States today, a study from Eastern Kentucky University recently revealed. In fact, they estimated that approximately one work-related illness or injury occurs every ten seconds. What is most concerning about this is that many of those accidents could have been prevented.
Most Common Injuries and Illnesses in the Workplace
With a total of 400,090 injuries, overexertion accounted for 34 percent of all non-fatal work-related injury claims. Falls, slips, and trips were cited as the cause for another 296,130 injuries while contact with objects or equipment were responsible for 268,380 injuries. And violence by another person or animal and transportation accidents made up just a little over 10 percent of all non-fatal injuries.
When it came to fatal injuries in the workplace, transportation incidents made up the majority of the claims, causing 1,740 injuries. Violence by persons or animals, contact with objects or equipment, falls, slips, or trips, all were responsible for 16 to 17 percent of all fatal injuries. And exposure to harmful substances or environments were cited as the cause for 7 percent of all fatal injuries.
While it is extremely likely that some of these incidents were unpreventable, it is also just as likely that many of them could have been avoided altogether. In fact, some of the most frequently cited OSHA violations in 2014 show just how preventable some of those injuries might have been.
Some of the most commonly cited violations included:
- Hazard communication standards,
- Respiratory protection,
- Powered industrial trucks,
- Control of hazardous energy,
- Electrical, wiring methods, components, and equipment,
- Machinery and machine guarding, and
- Electrical systems design.
Fatal construction injuries, responsible for the majority of all fatal workplace injuries (796 in 2013), also had some specific OSHA violations, including:
- Fall protection,
- Scaffolding, and
Counting the Cost of Workplace Illnesses and Injuries
Injuries and illnesses within the workplace can result in a number of consequences for both the employee and the employer. For the employee, damages can include:
- Loss of income (917,100 injuries and illnesses in 2013 resulted in missed days from work),
- Unpaid medical bills,
- Mental, emotional, or financial stress,
- Long-term disability,
- Family problems,
- Death, and
For employers, the cost takes on a different form: medical bills, worker's compensation, and changes in insurance premiums are just the beginning. Employers may also experience:
- A decrease in productivity,
- Legal fees,
- Decreased morale among remaining employees,
- Repair or replacement of equipment, and
- Training of new employees.
Sadly, their own costs are what many employers are focused on when it comes to workplace injury claims. And oftentimes, even if worker's compensation is awarded, it is insufficient for covering the injured employee's medical bills or loss of income. Because of this, it is the victims that are often left to handle the aftermath of an accident in the workplace.
Employers Can and Should be Held Responsible for Work-Related Injuries
Whether a workplace injury is the cause of faulty equipment or poor communication and training, employers should be held responsible when they are at fault. Unfortunately, victims often suffer additional stress because of lengthy litigation processes or an employer's attempt to dismiss the employee's claim. For this reason, it is important to seek qualified legal counsel as soon as possible.
At [[title]], we fight for the rights of our clients and their families. Our team of aggressive, devoted, and experienced Chicago construction accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve and do so in a way that will best benefit you whether it be meeting you at our office, in your home, or even in the hospital. For a free consultation, call us today at [[phone]].