What is a Workplace Injury?
Workplace injury is a common and costly event that can result in missed work, lost production and other damage. With proper precautions, many of these accidents can be prevented. Learn about the steps you should take to help protect yourself from workplace injuries.
A work injury is any injury, illness, or condition that an employee suffers during the course or in the act of performing their job duties. Work-related injuries can happen to anyone at any time while on the job. Thus, it is important to determine the root cause of the injury which can be evaluated by a qualified professional or a specialized doctor.
There are various types of injuries which can be categorized as physical injuries, occupational illnesses, and repetitive stress injuries.
The following are the more common types of work injuries:
- Low Back Pain – lumbar spine or pelvic region injuries
- Neck Pain – neck or upper back injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – pain in the wrist or hand due to median nerve compression
- Sprains and Strains – tendons or ligaments injuries
Causes of Workplace Injury
Overexertion is proven to be the most common cause of injury to employees. It is the act of attempting to lift something too heavy or regularly overexerting themselves over a long period. It can be very detrimental to workers and the company as well as this may be due to poor or inadequate training or a lack of supervisory presence, while on the part of the employee, it can be seen as a result of worker misjudgment or overconfidence.
One must take a break from work to not misjudge their ability to work safely, overlook personal responsibility to be safe, or perhaps forget any training they had in the past.
Slips and falls
Falls are the second most common and costly form of a workplace accident. Falling accidents may involve falling to the ground while walking or working, or falling into or against objects on the same level as the worker and different level falls, like a fall from a ledge, ladder, or other elevated working surfaces.
The majority of falling accidents could be attributed to human or personal factors such as fatigue and impairment. This affects motor skills and balance. Compromised focus and unsteady hands and feet are the usual cause for trips and slips or falls from heights.
Analyzing falling accidents would require examining whether the working area was slippery, if the ladders were used properly or protective equipment was worn such as harnesses.
Struck by an object
This type of accident could be analyzed by checking whether the Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) was worn properly, if all equipment was in good working condition, and whether proper housekeeping was done.
It is also advisable to examine the role of other workers on the scene, and those responsible for the equipment or object involved in the accident. A post-accident drug test to see if the worker who was struck was at fault.
Many occupations require traveling by motor vehicle. One cause leading to driver-related fatal large truck accidents is due to impairment apart from speeding and distraction. Reported top impairments that cause roadway accidents are due to substance abuse, fatigue, illness, and emotional stress.
An example of a worst-case scenario is a seriously fatigued driver who could fall asleep behind the wheel. It is also well known that cognitive impairment increases the occurrence and tendency to commit errors, and errors made while behind the wheel can be expensive. Moreover, although an exhausted driver employee may not himself make an error, his impaired state affects his ability to react in time to other drivers’ errors.
Compressed by an object or equipment
Accidents involving compression by equipment or objects were the 4th most common workplace accidents. Same as to being struck by an object, there may be several contributing factors behind these types of accidents such as those that lead to a lapse in judgment or an error while operating, cleaning, or repairing heavy equipment.
The final most common workplace accident is repetitive motions. Similar to overexertion, repetitive motions lead to physical fatigue which wears down the body and leads to injury. Additionally, repetitive motions are often dreary as well, leading to mental fatigue and the associated cognitive impairment. An employee in such a condition presents not only a high risk for suffering an injury but also heightens the safety risk of those around him.
When analyzing what causes repetitive motion injuries, the first areas to look at would be your workplace safety procedures, compliance with break times, and proper use of equipment.
You should be able to identify when a repetitive motion becomes tedious to the point of causing boredom and distraction. These can result in mental fatigue and cognitive impairment, leading to more accidents.
What To Do When Workplace Injuries Occur?
If you are injured on the job, it’s very important to report your injuries to your supervisor right away. Whether your accident was caused by a vehicle accident, a fall from a high place, sprain/strains or an item falling on you, reporting it to your employer is one of the most important actions for you to take in order to protect yourself in case there are any complications days or weeks after the accident.
Often when an accident happens, it’s not obvious that you have been hurt. It may be tempting to try to shake it off and keep working, but symptoms of some injuries may not be noticeable right away. Report your accident immediately, and pay attention for delayed symptoms of work-related injuries such as:
- Back Pain or Neck Pain
- Abdominal Swelling or Pain
- Confusion or Forgetfulness
- Increasing Pain
Workplace Injury Diagnosis
In workers’ compensation cases, injured workers are often asked to undergo diagnostic tests.
People who have been injured on the job typically receive diagnostic testing in order to treat their injuries and for medical-legal purposes. For example, if a worker falls down stairs at work they may need an x-ray of their leg before receiving treatment from a doctor.
Treatment of Workplace Injuries
Work-related injuries typically involve the following steps to achieve proper treatment of the injury:
- Obtain a detailed history of the work injury and health history of the patient
- Perform a complete examination of the patient
- Obtain any diagnostic tests (if necessary) to better understand the problem
- Discuss the diagnosis with the injured employee
- Review the findings and treatment options with the employee
Managing Workplace Injuries
Respond immediately to injury or accident as soon as it happens, company owners should be able to do the following:
- Make sure to get workers to a safe place. Move any injured workers away from an area if it is dangerous and make sure other employees stay clear.
- Assess the situation, the damage entailed, the severity of the injury, and what caused the accident? Evaluate carefully to ensure no one else could get hurt.
- Help the injured. First aid might be all that’s required for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns, but for major injuries be sure to stabilize the injured. The employee might not be aware of the severity of an injury. Professional help will minimize the risk of further injury, and emergency medical services should always be called if a workplace injury requires treatment beyond basic first aid.
- Gather information and keep evidence. Write down the relevant details and gather witness testimony, while the incident is still fresh in your mind. Keep evidence of the accident, such as equipment, pictures of the scene, etc. Even if employees say they are fine, Injuries should be documented even, as they may seek medical treatment at a later time. It will also be relevant if a workers’ compensation insurance claim is filed.
Conclusion on Workplace Injuries
Unfortunately, no amount of preparation can prevent an accident, an injury can still occur, and an employee can still get injured. Just make sure you’re prepared to get them the care they need, immediately when that happens.
Dealing with the pain, the lost time from employment and the changes in everyday life can be quite challenging for those that have been involved in work injuries. Most of these injuries are quite specific and it may require a doctor who has specific knowledge to manage these types of cases. Visit N8 Family Chiropractic to know more about treatments on work place injuries.
Schedule for Workplace Injury Treatment at N8 Family Chiropractic