Many Florida workers are injured in the workplace each year, and when workers are hurt while on the job, they need to be compensated for their lost earnings and medical care costs.
Workers that are at a high risk of injury while on the job include factory workers, utility workers, law enforcement officers and construction workers. But even seemingly safe office places can harbor danger for workers. Below is a brief explanation of five common types of workplace injuries.
Many workers experience overexertion type injuries while on the job. Any act of lifting, pulling pushing or tossing a heavy item can result in a sudden overexertion injury to a muscle, tendon or ligament. Engaging in activities that require an exertion of strength can cause fatigue to develop if the exertion happens for an extended period of time. Similarly, constant exertion can cause an increase in blood pressure, and can lead to cardiac issues if periodic breaks are not taken.
Even simple tasks can cause overexertion injuries. Any time a worker bends, kneels, twists, climbs, reaches or stands could cause an overexertion injury if the motion is not executed properly. Repetitive stress injuries are often the result of overexertion over a long period of time.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
One of the most overlooked forms of injury that a worker can seek workers’ compensation for are injuries due to repetitive stresses. Many jobs, especially those requiring a worker to perform the same exact motions over and over again every work day, can cause a worker to develop a repetitive stress injury. A repetitive stress injury can take many years to develop and is the result of many small, or gradually building injuries that accumulate into a serious, debilitating injury that can be so severe that a worker can no longer perform his or her job functions.
Many workers do not even realize that they are developing a repetitive stress injury because their only symptoms are a small amount of pain or discomfort that hardly seems worth mentioning to supervisors and managers. However, it is important that workers identify anything that is part of their job that causes pain or discomfort, before the issue turns into a serious injury.
Florida workers experience many types of repetitive stress injuries, including but not limited to:
- Tennis elbow
- Joint wear
- Bone fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back strains, spasms, and sprains
- Herniated discs
- Knee injuries
Falls, Slips and Trips
Falls, slips and trips are common sources of workplace injury. A fall, a slip and a trip are characterized differently and one does not necessarily happen as the result of another. For example, a person could slip, but not fall, because the person regained his or her balance.
- A fall occurs when someone is caused to lose their balance, and the individual is unable to regain their balance before falling to the ground, or if there is a relatively large drop in elevation between one footstep and the other. Falls can occur from a great height. Many impact injuries result from falls, such as bone breakage, bone fractures, bruising, contusions and sprains and strains.
- A slip results when the surface that is being walked upon has something on it that makes the ground slick or slippery. A slip could cause a serious injury, such as a twisted ankle, knee or back, or could result in a serious impact injury if you slip and fall very hard into the ground.
- A trip results when there is an obstacle in the way of a person’s feet or there is a sudden, but relatively small change in elevation from one footstep to the other. Workers can trip over equipment, loose cables, debris, etc. If the worker cannot regain his or her balance, they will likely fall to the ground and suffer impact-type injuries.
Struck, Crushed or Caught By Or In Equipment
Injuries from equipment can occur at any time to anyone in the workplace, and these types of injuries commonly occur in factory, manufacturing and construction workplaces. A piece of malfunction or improperly maintained equipment can break apart, causing serious injury to the user. Similarly, when workers fail to adhere to proper safety protocol they can hurt themselves and other workers. Management’s failure to enforce safety protocols could also be the root cause of a worker’s injuries.
- Crushing and Catching Injuries. Many construction and factory jobs require the use of large pieces of machinery, which can be large enough to be capable of catching or crushing a body part if proper safety precautions are not followed. A malfunctioning machine could grab a loose article of clothing or a piece of jewelry and cause an injury. When a machine causes a crushing injury, there is a high rate of fatality and, if the victim survives, the resulting injuries are often times permanently debilitating because the machines are so large and forceful.
- Striking Injuries. Being struck by a large piece of equipment can be very serious depending on where the victim is hit. A blow to the head could cause a traumatic brain injury or brain damage. An impact to the soft tissues could cause internal hemorrhaging, bruising and contusions.
Work-Related Automobile Accidents
Driving to or from a destination or appointment and delivering or transporting goods are common tasks associated with many jobs. While driving a vehicle for work purposes an employee can become involved in a motor vehicle accident. This is a fairly common type of work-related accident because Florida falls behind only Texas in terms of work-related motor vehicle accidents.