New Workers Face Significant Risks for Occupational Injuries
October 24, 2023
According to a recent study, just over one-third of occupational injuries occur during a worker’s first year on the job. While it may not come as a surprise that newer, less experienced workers are more likely to fall prey to jobsite hazards, the study illustrates how improving training efforts among new hires could reduce preventable – and far too often catastrophic – workplace accidents and injuries.
Workplace Injuries: Causes and Consequences
The injuries that occur during a worker’s first year on the job lead to a total of 7 million missed workdays. Another risk factor for occupational injuries is age. According to a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Medicine (AJOM), injuries among workers 65-years-old and older are more likely to be severe and result in disability or death even though they incur fewer injuries than workers in a younger age bracket. Some of the most common causes behind occupational injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents. MVAs cause 5% of occupational injuries each year
- Approximately 29% of workplace injuries result from incidents that involve overexertion
- Slips, trips, and falls make up nearly one-quarter of each year’s injuries
- Being struck by an object incidents account for 13% of occupational injuries
- Caught in/caught-between hazards cause 5% of injuries
Exposure to harmful substances or environments and fires and explosions are also significant contributing factors to injuries. Together, these types of incidents lead to a variety of injuries in workers, some more severe than others. While the most sustained occupational injuries are strains, sprains, bruises, fractures, inflammation and dislocation, workers also experience:
- Repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis
- Spinal cord injuries. These injuries may cause partial or full paralysis
- Concussions and other kinds of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs
- Torn ligaments
- Shoulder injuries
- Burn injuries due to chemical exposure, electricity and/or fire
- Back and neck injuries such as sprains, strains and bulging discs
- Crushing injuries that may lead to amputation
How to Protect Workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several regulations and standards in place to protect workers from the recognizable hazards that they regularly encounter on the job. All employers are legally obligated to maintain a safe and healthful work environment to safeguard workers from injuries, no matter how minor they might be. Occupational safety experts recommend that employers ramp up employee onboarding, operating procedures, training and other factors to secure safer workplaces and more effectively reduce preventable injuries in workers.
The vice president of workplace strategy out of the National Safety Council, or NSC, says that too few workplaces formalize their health and safety approach, though they should be doing just that. Implementing a safety management program that routinely gauges and reduces workplace dangers, he says, is the first step towards truly wrestling with injury and incident reduction. The NSC recommends that when employers develop safety management programs that they involve workers in creating, tracking and carrying out safety measures. New technologies that aim to mitigate workplace dangers are also emerging. Certain smart phone apps, for example, allow workers and supervisors to report noise levels and communicate ways to handle hazardous materials to reduce the chances of exposure. Other technologies include AI-powered safety platforms and camera-equipped robots.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim if You Sustain an Injury
Lives change when injuries happen. Workers with and without experience face the risk of injury and death every day. Workers’ compensation was created to provide injured workers and their families with sufficient resources to maintain an adequate standard of life, despite a disability or death. While workers’ compensation places a substantial amount of the economic burden of a worker’s injury on the employer, it does not pay the full loss of wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures, or the loss of dignity and confidence that seriously injured workers can experience.
Depending on the nature of a worker’s injuries, he or she may want to file not only a workers’ compensation claim, but also a third-party liability claim. If a piece of equipment was faulty or improperly safeguarded, for example, the victim may be able to file a suit against the machine manufacturer. Here are just a few examples of our firm’s recoveries on behalf of injured workers who needed help:
If you were injured at work and you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim, someone with our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.