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Workplace Accident Statistics: Workers’ Compensation Injuries in the U.S.

Workers' Compensation Injury Statistics in U.S.

There are over 157 million Americans in the US workforce. These people work in a huge number of jobs from engineering to production lines to supermarket check-outs. But none of them are immune to an accident in the workplace. These injuries are extremely common and can have a devastating impact on the lives of people who experience them. Understanding workplace accident statistics could help you avoid an injury in the future.

Or they can provide valuable information for your worker’s compensation case.

If you’re worried about workplace injuries, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to out all about workplace accident statistics in the United States today!

Workplace Accident Statistics

Every seven seconds someone is injured in the workplace, meaning that every year there are 4.6 million workplace accidents. So the chances of you experiencing one are fairly high. These injuries can come in all shapes, sizes, and severities but each of them can damage your quality of life.

Some of the most common workplace injuries include sprains, strains, or tears. These can happen if you’re involved in a fall in which you hit part of your body. But strains and tears can also happen over time if you have to carry out a task that requires repetitive movement.

Repetitive strain injuries can happen whether you’re lifting boxes or typing at a desk. This is why wrist injuries are common injuries in offices.

Some of the other most common types of workplace injuries are cut, lacerations, or puncture wounds. The likelihood of you suffering one of these injuries depends a lot on the industry that you work in.

People working in the service industry are most likely to suffer an injury at work. This sector includes firefighters, healthcare professionals, and police. In fact, one in five nonfatal injuries happens to a healthcare professional or social worker.

Manufacturing also has a nonfatal injury rate of 35 incidents per 10,000 workers, one of the highest in the US. Other at-risk employees include:

  • people working in transportation
  • installation, maintenance and repair engineers
  • construction workers

To understand why these industries see more nonfatal injuries than others, let’s take a look at the cause of these accidents.

Common Causes of Workplace Injuries

Most common injuries in a workplace happen because of risk-factors that bosses and their employees are already aware of.

For example, manufacturing involves using a lot of machinery. If this isn’t used properly it doesn’t take much for a serious injury to take place. That’s why it’s extremely important to only use machinery at-work if you feel confident using it.

Another key factor in workplace injuries is a lack of communication.

Slips, trips, or falls in the workplace are extremely common and can have serious consequences. This is especially true if the person involved sustains a head injury. But usually, something causes a person to fall in the workplace.

Identifying potential hazards and marking them out so that people know what you avoid is key to preventing trips and falls.

This leads us to our final point: avoidable accidents will happen if you don’t use the appropriate health and safety precautions. These can cover a huge number of things including:

  1. Using the correct protective clothing
  2. Drawing attention to potential hazards so people know to avoid them
  3. Getting rid of a hazard as quickly and safely as possible
  4. Providing handrails on staircases
  5. Encouraging people to take breaks from their desk
  6. Creating an ergonomic office environment
  7. Teaching employees how to lift heavy boxes properly
  8. Providing up-to-date health and safety information for your employees
  9. Carrying out routine inspections
  10. Safely disposing of toxic waste
  11. Providing instructions for the machinery
  12. Only allowing trained employees to use specific machines

This is just a handful of ideas that can help to eliminate some of the common causes of accidents in the workplace. Putting them into practice could help lower work accident statistics.

Unfortunately, not all accidents end in the emergency room. For some workers across America, their workplace injury could be fatal and this happens a lot more often than you might think.

Workplace Fatality Statistics

In 2018, 5,250 people died from workplace accidents in the United States. This makes a national workplace fatality rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 fulltime workers.

There are four leading causes of fatality in the workplace.

  1. Falls from a height are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. These accounted for almost a quarter of the deaths in the construction industry in 2018.
  2. Being struck by an object
  3. Being Electrocuted
  4. Being caught in or between something at work. This could involve being caught and crushed in machinery or between two objects. These types of deaths also include a person being caught in a collapsing building.

This is why a lot of fatalities appear in industrial accident statistics.

In recent years, there has also been a significant rise in the number of work-related suicides in the US. This increased by 3% from 275 reported cases in 2017 to 304 reported cases in 2018.

To understand more about fatal injuries at work, let’s take a look at some of the fatal work accident statistics for specific industries in the US.

Which are the Most Dangerous Industries to Work in?

2014 saw a rise in the number of workplace fatalities to a rate of 3.4 and this has risen even more since then.

Different jobs carry different risks, which is why some industries are more accident-prone than others. However, nonfatal and fatal injuries don’t always occur in the same industries. This is because the types of injuries sustained in some industries are more severe than others.

For example, the healthcare profession experiences a lot of workplace injuries. However, their fatality rate is much lower than in other industries.

People working in transport are most likely to suffer a fatal injury at work. In 2018, there were 2,080 workplace fatalities in the transportation and shipping industry. This means that this industry accounted for 40% of all workplace deaths in the US that year.

On top of this, they suffered 184,470 nonfatal injuries. This gives the industry a rate of 89.7 injuries per 10,000 workers – more than double the national average.

Drivers, truck drivers, or driving sales workers at high risk of suffering a fatal injury. Within the industry, it was tractor-trailer drivers who suffered the most fatalities overall.

Construction workers are also more likely to suffer fatal injuries at work. This is even more likely if you work in road-side construction.

Other high-risk jobs include working in agriculture or forestry. Both areas involve using machinery and/or the risk of falling.

Waste management is also an industry that has a higher fatality rate than the national average. This is especially high for people working in chemical waste management.

Workplace fatality rates are generally lower for those working in self-employment.

The most dangerous industry to work in can vary year on year though. For example, in 2015, logging had by far the most fatal work injuries in the US.

Where is the Most Dangerous Place to Work in the United States?

Where you work can also affect how likely you are to suffer an injury in the workplace. This is often because particular states have a higher concentration of dangerous jobs than others.

Because each state has a different population, you need to look at the fatality rate per state, not the number of fatalities. For example, in 2017 California had more fatalities at work than Alaska. However, it has a bigger population so the rate at which these fatalities occurred was lower overall.

The fatality rate for each state is calculated as the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers. It doesn’t account for people younger than sixteen, volunteer workers or the resident military.

In 2018, the most dangerous state to work in was Wyoming, which had a fatality rate of 11.5. This was a significant increase from its fatality rate of 7.7 in 2017.

Other high-risk states included Alaska, with a fatality rate of 9.9, and North Dakota with a fatality rate of 9.6. Thirteen states overall had a fatality rate of more than 5.0. These were:

  • Alaska (9.9)
  • Arkansas (6.3)
  • Idaho (5.8)
  • Louisiana (5.1)
  • Mississippi (6.7)
  • Indiana (5.6)
  • Missouri (5.1)
  • Montana (5.5)
  • North Dakota (9.6)
  • Oklahoma (5.2)
  • South Dakota (6.9)
  • West Virginia (7.9)
  • Wyoming (11.5)

Delaware was the safest place to work, with a fatality rate of 1.6, followed by Rhode Island with a rate of 1.8.

The Serious Impact of Workplace Injuries

All these facts and figures tell us a lot about workplace injuries and why they happen. But what is the impact of these injuries? If you’re lucky enough to survive a workplace injury, it can still have a huge impact on your quality of life.

Any type of workplace injury can involve you having to take time off work in order to recover. In 2018, there were 892,270 cases of nonfatal injuries that resulted in the time taken off from work.

Common injuries, such as sprains or strains, require a proper recovery period to prevent further serious injury.

Unfortunately, some injuries may prevent you from going back to work altogether. They may mean that you have to switch your job role or take an indefinite leave. This can have a huge impact on several areas of your life.

First and foremost, if you can work, you can’t make money. The total cost of workplace injuries in 2017, was $161.5 billion dollars. This works out as $1,100 per worker injured, $1.15 million per workplace death, and $39,000 per injury that required medical consultation.

Depending on your employer, you may end up losing that $1,100 or $39,000 on medical bills and the cost of living while you’re off work. Most employee contracts will outline sick pay, however, this can often be limited to a 2-week or month-long period. It won’t cover indefinite leave.

But the impact of a serious injury isn’t only financial. It can also have a serious emotional and psychological impact on you. Depending on how you got your injury you may develop PTSD following it and be unable to return to your place of work.

This is why it’s extremely important to seek proper compensation if you’ve been injured in the workplace.

What Should You Do If You Suffer a Workplace Injury?

No industry in the US is completely risk-free when it comes to workplace injuries. If you experience one, it’s important to seek appropriate compensation for this. This will help you to cover any financial losses from your injury meaning you can relax and focus on your recovery.

Some cases are more cut-and-dry than others. For example, if you are struck by a poorly-secured object on a construction site, you’ll have a strong case.

But you should also call out employers for other damaging practices. For example, sitting at your desk for long periods of time without being allowed a break could lead to back pain.

Whatever your injury, there are several things you should do to create a strong case against your employer.

You should make sure that you keep medical records throughout any treatment that you have. Ideally, try to get assessed by an experienced workers’ compensation doctor rather than by your primary physician. This will help you present your case as unbiased.

You should also collect as much evidence from the day of your injury as possible. This might be footage of the injury or eye-witness accounts of it. Make sure that you have a copy of your company’s health and safety record to check this against. You can use this to assess if they were following all their regulations.

Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is also key to making a successful case. They’ll explain all your options and put together a strong case for you. They’ll also handle communications with your employer so that you don’t have to worry about this.

Get the Support You Need!

As you can see from these workplace accident statistics, no one is immune to an accident in the workplace. Fortunately, help is at hand.

If you’ve suffered an injury at work, call 1-800-897-8440 to find an experienced workers’ compensation doctors near you. We’re here to help!