Not all injuries lead to workers compensation. Sometimes the injury is deemed the fault of the injured party, not the company that employs them. (This is especially common when the injured says the wrong thing at their workers comp doctor evaluation.)
So what are the most common injuries that do lead to workers comp payout? Find out in this guide.
For the most part, workers comp injuries are rarely unique cases. Most fall into a few common categories, which we cover in detail below.
Find out if your recent, on-the-job injury is likely to be covered. Or see what injuries you should watch out for while working. Employers, learn which common injuries need the most preventative measures.
In any case, learn all you need to know about common workers comp injuries right here.
According to the National Safety Council, overexertion is the most common workplace injury that leads to missed workdays. This category includes pulled/strained muscles and strained/overextended joints.
Basically, it’s anything that’s pulled, strained, tweaked, or popped out of place as a result of working harder than your body is prepared to handle. These overexertion injuries cause constant soreness and/or reduced range-of-motion that make you unable to do your job effectively or at all.
Overexertion is more common at jobs that require a lot of heavy lifting, like construction. But they can happen at any job if you take on a bigger workload than you can handle.
The biggest way to prevent overexertion is to team lift or use equipment to pick up very heavy loads. Also, wear a back brace if your job includes a lot of lifting. And never twist or reach while lifting.
2. Harmful Contact With Objects
Next, being struck by or against an object is another very common workplace injury. You or a coworker may drive an object into you or knock you into one accidentally. Often, objects that are falling or collapsing may land on you, causing injury.
Alternatively, you may not be paying attention to what you’re doing or following safety procedures. If that’s the case, you may be found at fault and denied workers comp.
The best things you can do to avoid this type of injury is to follow procedure and pay attention to what you and those around you are doing. Also, don’t store heavy objects high up where they may fall and hurt someone.
3. Harmful Contact With Equipment/Machinery
Equipment and machinery with a lot of mechanical parts can easily cause injury. That’s especially true if their moving parts are exposed and accessible while in operation.
Sometimes, a person’s clothes or body parts can get caught in these moving parts. Usually, this is due to carelessness during operation. That could mean either the carelessness of the injured party or that of a coworker.
These injuries are quite often very serious. They might result in loss of limb or even death.
Always follow all safety procedures when operating equipment. Never let yourself or anyone else operate equipment before being properly trained and certified to use it.
4. Harmful Substances or Environments
Some jobs require employees to work with hazardous substances or in dangerous environments.
In fact, almost every job requires janitorial services. These involve cleaning chemicals that could become poisonous or combustible if accidentally mixed. Toxic fumes or fires can happen as easily as a couple of containers falling off the shelf in the supply closet.
Aside from this, using chemicals without the right safety gear or proper ventilation can also cause injury. It’s essential, then, that all employees are trained to use and store hazardous chemicals.
5. Slips, Trips, And Falls
One reason slips, trips, and falls are so common is that they can’t always be prevented. There is an endless number of ways they can happen. Even if every employee follows every procedure, someone might still trip over their own feet.
Plus, no job is exempt from this category of injuries. They happen in every industry to employees of any position.
Still, there are some obvious ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls. First, wear the right clothing for the job, and wear it right. Wear slip-resistant shoes, whether they’re required or not, and keep the laces tied.
Clean up spills, tripping hazards, and other messes right away. Set up ladders correctly and on a level surface before use.
6. Repetitive Strain Injury
Injury can occur when you perform the same motion over and over again throughout your day. Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis all fall into this category.
Unfortunately, there are many jobs in which staying in one spot and repeating a single function is the entire job description. These include assembly line workers and any job where employees spend all day at a keyboard. Repetitive strain injury is very common at jobs like these.
Even worse, it can be difficult to get approved for workers comp for repetitive strain injuries. These injuries can take years to develop and it’s not always easy to pinpoint what the cause or causes are. Therefore, one may have trouble proving that such an injury was sustained on the job.
It’s best, then, to report symptoms right away if you experience pain when performing specific, repetitive job functions. It also helps if the nature of the injury correlates with a particular repetitive motion that you commonly do at work.
7. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many jobs require driving, especially those centered on pickup/delivery or passenger transportation. But also included are police officers and traveling business representatives.
For these jobs, auto accidents are one of the most common workers comp injuries. These injuries can range from mild to severe. Sometimes, they’re even fatal.
The best way to avoid accidents is to practice (and train your employees to practice) defensive driving.
Avoid These Common Workers Comp Injuries
Now that you know which workers comp injuries to watch out for, do it! If you’re an employee, get trained and always follow necessary safety procedures. If you’re an employer, train up your employees and take other preventative measures.
Remember this list and stay safe on the job.
Now, check out our business blog for more great workplace tips.