Workplace injuries cost billions each year

Pennsylvania workers may be surprised at the number of injuries that occur at workplaces across the country each year, and the costs such injuries entail. According to the 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the top five causes of injury in 2010, which between them cover 73.1 percent of all workplace injuries, resulted in a total cost of over $37.2 billion dollars.

Workers can take a number of steps to avoid being harmed on the job. Anti-slip footwear and a tidy work environment can prevent falls for everyone from nurses to waiters. Proper use of ladders and maintaining scaffolding in good condition are an essential part of preventing more serious falls to a lower level. Wearing PPE reduces the chance of being struck by a falling object, and employees who get help or use equipment to assist them with difficult tasks are less likely to suffer injuries due to overexertion.

The 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index reports that overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries, making up 26.8 percent of all injuries reported. Falls onto the same level, due to tripping or slipping, are another 16.9 percent, and bodily reaction injuries, caused by movement or posture that is awkward or prolonged, account for 11.4 percent. Accidents involving falls to a lower level or being struck by an object make up 10 and 8 percent, respectively.

Workers who have been hurt in an on-the-job accident may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Consulting with a lawyer can help an injured worker recover medical costs and time lost due to anything from repetitive stress injury to chemical exposure. If the negligence of a coworker or supervisor lead to health and safety violations that caused the accident, a personal injury claim may result in even higher settlements.

Source: EHS Today, "Preventing the Top 5 Workplace Injuries", Langdon Dement , November 17, 2014

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