In any given year, millions of Americans go to work, only to experience an injury. While some of these work-related injuries are minor, others can be quite serious. We’ll take a look at the six most common work-related injuries, and how you can deal with them if they happen to you.
Common Work-Related Injuries
1. Back Pain
Back pain is probably the most common work-related injury out there. It accounts for nearly 40% of all worker’s compensation claims, and 80% of all visits to occupational health centers. Research shows that 90 percent of people do not use proper lifting techniques when moving objects around their workplace. If you have management or human resources experience, consider consulting with an industrial injury lawyer to help ensure that workers are using safe work practices that minimize back injury incidents, or ensuring your medical bills after a Georgia work injury are paid through compensation. To prevent this injury, you should never lift an object without bending your knees first. If you need to carry a heavy box over a long distance, don’t try to make it lighter by shaking it or twisting it from side to side – this can worsen any potential injuries.
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) results from excess pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This can cause intense hand and finger pain as well as numbness and tingling. CTS is also one of the most common work-related injuries, accounting for up to 20% of all worker’s compensation claims. Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time, though the condition is not permanent, and the symptoms generally resolve when a proper course of treatment is taken. Workers experiencing CTS symptoms should shut down their tasks at work immediately, rest their hand completely, and elevate it above heart level if possible. This will help minimize pain and damage to the wrist area, allowing full recovery of movement within about six months or so.
3. Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
Repetitive stress injuries are nerve conditions resulting from “repetitive movements” – actions performed in an almost robotic fashion for extended periods. RSI conditions are becoming more and more common, especially in the digital age, when everyone is glued to a computer screen all day long. They include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and tenosynovitis – all three of which can be prevented by simple stretching exercises at work. For instance, if you’re going to be staring at a computer screen for long periods, make sure to take breaks from your tasks where you go outside or stretch your legs.
4. Stress Injuries
While fewer people report stress injuries than repetitive strain injuries because they don’t show physical symptoms, stress injuries are still a very real problem for many Americans in the workplace. The most common form of this problem is called “burnout,” which occurs when you experience too much anxiety and fatigue at work to function properly. Stress can also result from dangerous working conditions or low morale in your workplace if workers feel they are not being respected by management. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to take steps immediately.
5. Hearing Loss
Hearing loss accounts for nearly 22% of all American worker’s compensation claims every year, making it one of the more common workplace conditions. Since it is one of the most prevalent forms of occupational injury, you should take precautions to prevent hearing loss while at work. If you’re exposed frequently to loud noise on the job (air traffic controllers or musicians are two great examples) make sure to wear earplugs when appropriate, and limit your exposure time if necessary. Additionally, find out what tools can be used for high-decibel noise reduction like special headphones or mufflers – these items should always be provided by your employer free of charge.
6. Eye Injury
IV’s damage report notes that eye injuries account for 2% percent of all worker’s compensation claims in America. It is important that employees have protective eyewear available to them at work so they can save their eyesight if an accident does occur, and that employers provide such equipment. If you’re working in a lab or similar environment where chemicals like acid could splash into your eyes, make sure to use goggles, glasses, or face shields when appropriate for extra protection. You should also ask your employer about the availability of eye-wash stations near high-traffic areas at work.
It is important to keep in mind that the majority of work-related injuries sustained on the job are avoidable if you take proper precautions. If you experience pain, numbness, or soreness at work, make sure to rest and elevate your wrist. Make sure you eat properly and exercise regularly at work as well – this will help strengthen muscles and improve blood circulation, which can dramatically reduce injury possibilities. Remember to report all accidents immediately as well, so employers can assess potential damage and provide remedies for preventing further injury.