Top Causes of Work Accidents
Occupational accidents cost employees and employers alike.
In addition to the physical, social and emotional costs burdened by workers and their families, job-related injuries cost U.S. employers an estimated $1 billion every single week in direct costs. That’s according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), which includes in that figure workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses and legal services. It does not include indirect costs such as lost productivity, implementation of corrective measures, accident investigations and lost productivity.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys know it’s important to analyze the top causes of work accidents in an effort to reduce their numbers. The vast majority of worker injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable.Non-Fatal Work Injuries Breakdown
The Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports there were nearly 71,000 non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses reported in both the public and private sectors throughout the Commonwealth in 2013.
Of those 71,000 Massachusetts work injuries reported, 66,500 occurred in the private sector. The total number of recordable cases here translated to an incidence rate of 2.9 work injuries per 100 equivalent full-time workers.
That amounted to:
- 29,200 cases with days away from work
- 7,500 cases resulting in job transfer and/or restriction
- 29,800 other recordable cases
Within the public sector, there were 4,400 cases of recordable worker injuries. That was an increase of nearly 19 percent from just one year earlier, and it amounted to an incidence rate of 4.3 work injuries per 100 full-time workers.
That amounted to:
- 2,100 cases with days away from work
- 100 cases resulting in job transfer and/or restriction
- 2,200 other recordable cases
Despite the increase noted in the public sector, decreases in work injuries were reported within the following industries:
- Professional and business services
- Education and health services
- Food and beverage stores
- General merchandise stores
- Administrative and support services
Still, work-related injuries and illness remain a significant problem in Massachusetts. In looking at work-related illness, the state reported a total of 2,400 cases annually in the private sector, which resulted in an incidence rate of 10.4 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. In the public sector, the incidence rate was 63.5 cases per 10,000 workers.
Most of these included:
- Skin Disorders
- Respiratory Conditions
- Hearing Loss
Meanwhile, the industries with the highest incidence rates of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees were:
- State Government Hospitals
- Crop Production
- Textile Product Mills
- Truck Transportation
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
- Furniture and Related Products
- Couriers and Messengers
- Non-metallic Mineral Production
- Air Transportation
When it came to a gender breakdown, 55.5 percent of reported work injuries involved male workers, while 44.5 percent were female. Most of the workers injured were between the ages of either 25 and 34 or 45 and 54.Nature of Injuries
The types of injuries most commonly suffered in Massachusetts work accidents were:
- Sprains, Strains, Tears – 41 percent
- Soreness, Pain – 15 percent
- Cuts, Lacerations, Punctures – 9 percent
- Bruise, Contusions – 9 percent
- Fractures – 7 percent
- Heat Burns – 1.5 percent
- Multiple Traumatic Injuries – 1.1 percent
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – 0.5 percent
- Amputations – 0.4 percent
- Chemical Burns – 0.2 percent
- Tendonitis – 0.1 percent
The Massachusetts Department of Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) reports that in 2013, there were 57 workers who died of work-related injuries or illnesses.
The leading causes of these fatalities were:
- Falls to a lower level
- Vehicle Collisions
- Workers being struck by a falling object or vehicle
- Exposure to harmful substance or environment
These amounted to a death rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, which was comparable to rates from other recent years.
Victims ranged in age from 19 to 88, with the average age of 51. The agency calculated that those losses amounted to a total of 1,413 potential life years – lost.
Those workers who were at highest risk included:
- Fishermen and agricultural workers
- Transportation and material moving occupations
- Construction workers
- Manufacturing industry workers
In many of these cases, fines and penalties are assessed against employers for workplace safety and health violations that led to the worker injury. These penalties help to compel employers to create safer working environments. Unfortunately, however, that money does not benefit the victims. Because workers cannot, per the Workers’ Compensation Act exclusive remedy provision, sue their employers for negligence, it’s imperative to file for workers’ compensation or workers’ compensation death benefits. These will cover the cost of lost wages, medical bills, and long-term disability.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL