Common Injuries On the Job and How to Avoid Them

Cary, NC – When we hear about work-related injuries, many of us may assume that injuries can only happen at a high-risk occupation, such as construction work or manufacturing, but in reality, an injury on the job can happen to anyone, of any profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, there were approximately 2.9 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported by the private industry employers.

Although everyone is at risk for being injured at work, here are some of the most common workplace injuries, how to handle them, and how to avoid them.

Overexertion Injuries

An overexertion injury, which is most commonly a sprain, strain or tear, is defined as a non-impact injury resulting from excessive physical effort, such as lifting, pulling, pushing or turning. Overexertion injuries can happen in any industry and some employees are at a greater risk than others. Not only are these types of injuries that most common, they are the most costly to employers, often requiring workers’ compensation claims, as well as days missed from work.

Take a long haul truck driver for example. He or she is likely to spend a lot of time on the job alone, which means that lifting heavy items while loading and unloading the truck or pushing and pulling containers is done by one person. Drivers are often at risk of injury during these movements because they suffer from poor posture and a weak core from sitting for long periods of time. Rather than reporting the injury right away, many drivers stick to their tight deadline and keep driving, which can make the injury worse.

Overexertion injuries can vary from one industry to the next, but the best way to avoid them is by staying healthy, strong and following proper safety procedures such as wearing a back support brace for lifting, using a dolly cart and even asking another person to help you lift.

Slipping and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall accidents can happen when the corner of a rug is turned up or the janitorial staff failed to put down a “wet floor” sign. Additionally, many of these types of accidents happen when someone is uncoordinated or is not watching where he or she is going. Slip and fall accidents can result in a variety of injuries from a bruised elbow and a scrape to the shin to a concussion or a traumatic brain injury.

The best way to avoid these types of accidents and injuries in any industry is by following any and all safety procedures, such as wearing proper footwear and keeping tripping hazards out of the way at a job site. If you notice something is a hazard, either remove/fix it or let a supervisor know immediately.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Anyone who works in front of a computer all day may think that he or she has the safest job around but he or she is at risk of repetitive motion injuries that can lead to strain on muscles and tendons, back pain, vision problems and issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. These types of injuries, if left untreated, can become serious enough to require surgery.

The best way to prevent repetitive motion injuries is to use ergonomic equipment, take stretching breaks throughout the day and change up your daily job tasks whenever possible.

Always Report Your Injury

Regardless of what type of job you have, and even if you follow all safety procedures at work, it’s crucial to report any job-related injury immediately to your employer. If you fail to report your injury, you will not only put yourself at risk for making the injury worse but you may miss out on receiving workers’ compensation benefits, which may help you if you need to miss work because of your injury.

Story by Brittany Cotton. Photos by Alan Turkus and Sebastien Wiertz.