4 examples of the most common types of workplace accidents
A work accident can occur at any time. Many times, there’s no forewarning and no time to prepare for it. Sometimes, no matter what preparations are made and precautions are taken, an accident will happen. Serious injuries can result.
While workplace injuries come in all shapes and sizes, there are a number of “common culprit” causes of accidents on the job. We’ve seen all sorts of accidents during our years of practice. However, listed below are a few of the most common causes of work-related accidents.
Lifting may be the most common cause of work-related injuries.
A lifting accident can cause pain to many different body parts. For example, it can cause a shoulder injury when an individual attempts to lift a heavy item too quickly. It can also cause an elbow injury in a similar manner. Knee injuries can occur due to the weight of the object being lifted. Lifting can also cause a back injury, which is what most people think about when they hear about a lifting injury.
The severity of the injuries that can occur due to lifting accidents include something as minor to a muscle strain, to something as serious as a disc herniation or rotator cuff tear. In order to avoid these injuries, be mindful of what you are lifting — including its weight, balance and stability. Find out what you’re lifting and how heavy it is before beginning the action.
It’s better to be safe and ask for help than to get hurt.
It’s also important to report any and all injuries that result from a lifting injury. Lifting injuries can be unique in the sense that there may not be visible to others. A lifting accident can result even when there is no damage to the items being lifted. Sometimes, workers are able to carry the item and only begin to notice their pain after the task.
Lifting can be a silent injury, therefore, speak up!
Trips, slips and falls
Trip and fall injuries are what many people think of when they hear that someone got hurt on the job. The picture in their mind is probably the cartoon image of a character slipping on a banana peel with their feet flying out from underneath them. While this type of accident can certainly occur, it’s not the only way a trip and fall can take place at work. More commonly, an object or tool is left on the floor which causes an employee to trip and get hurt. Improper footwear, slick workplace floors and high-traffic corridors can also cause a trip or fall.
A trip doesn’t have to necessarily result in a fall. People can get injured if they trip/slip and catch themselves before they fall. Sometimes, the action of striking the object can cause the injury. Other times, preventing a coworker from falling can cause an injury.
There are numerous types of injuries that can result from a slip and fall. They can be broken down by injuries as a result of the slip and injuries as a result of the fall. Tripping injuries are usually caused by an object, and tripping can do damage to knees and backs. An ACL tear or other knee injury may result from tripping/slipping. The same type of twisting injury can occur in the back, resulting in a herniation.
The fall typically causes more serious injuries. For example, a fall can be down stairs — and quite frankly, who is ever prepared to fall down stairs? Injuries that result from a fall can occur to almost any body part. They can be caused due to bracing as a result of falling, or by the impact itself.
It’s important to note that in a workers’ compensation case, it typically doesn’t matter whether or not there was negligence on behalf of the employer. In fact, so long as there is not willful misconduct, the cause of the fall can be due to the acts of the injured worker.
For example, if an employee places a box on the floor, subsequently forgets that box was on the floor and then trips over that same box, they can still recover workers’ compensation benefits for their injury.
Fatigue is another common cause of workplace accidents. Being tired can lead to more mistakes, and mistakes lead to injuries. This is especially true with manual labor intensive jobs. Studies have shown that reaction times dramatically decrease when an individual is tired. Make sure to take breaks when they are provided.
Fatigue can also be caused by dehydration. During hot summer days, make sure to stay hydrated. The same holds true if the workplace is extremely hot, or you are constantly moving throughout the day. Also be sure to stay hydrated during cold winter days. In fact, your body may require even more water on cold days.
Violence among co-workers is another common cause of serious workplace injuries. Georgia law is very specific about what workers’ compensation insurance will cover (and what it will not cover) when it comes to workplace violence. The courts have held that as long as an individual is not the aggressor, they can recover workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that occur as a result of being attacked.
However, if the injured party was involved in either horseplay or was the aggressor, then they typically cannot recover.
Injured at work? Contact a skilled Georgia work injury lawyer today
Regardless of who or what caused your job-related injury, it’s important that you fully understand your legal rights. Don’t take your employer’s word for it.
If you have any questions regarding any work-related accident, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Athens workers’ compensation attorneys at Gerber & Holder.