While there are certain high-risk occupations in which catastrophic injuries seem to be par for the course, any worker can suffer on-the-job injuries. Those working in the construction and manufacturing industries are especially susceptible to injuries that result from falls or being crushed by heavy equipment. Although mostly avoidable, those incidents typically happen in an instant as the result of a safety violation. Some equally devastating injuries sometimes follow actions that don't seem risky, and therefore were not avoided.
If you are a long-haul commercial truck driver, an industrial worker or one of many employees in an assembly line, here are three types of unanticipated workplace injuries. As with traumatic injuries, these could cause significant medical expenses and lost work time for you and many others in related industries.
- Overexertion Injuries - Strains and sprains along with tears are the most common workplace injuries resulting from overexertion. Here is some general information regarding these types of injuries:
- Causes: Lifting, pushing, pulling or turning heavy objects or machines typically cause these non-impact injuries.
- Example: Victims are often commercial truck drivers who load and unload products of different shapes and sizes without assistance.
- Prevention: Stay physically healthy, do a few stretching exercises every time you stop -- before you start hauling heavy objects. Wear support for your back and insist on access to a dolly cart -- never hesitate to ask for help when object are too heavy for one person to handle. Most importantly, do not delay seeking medical treatment.
- Slip or trip and fall injuries - Victims often suffer such injuries due to an unsafe work environment, and the consequences of these incidents can be devastating. Some general information on slip, trip and fall injuries includes:
- Causes: Turned-up or torn rugs, wet floors without warning signs, snow or ice accumulation and more can cause injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to fractured bones or even brain injuries if the victim's head strikes something hard.
- Example: If your job is in a warehouse where lift trucks and pedestrian traffic bring in moisture from outside or where cleaners fail to post "wet floor" signs, you could suffer severe injuries in the blink of an eye.
- Prevention: Wearing proper non-slip footwear and keeping a look out for hazards on walkways could help prevent many of these unfortunate incidents.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries - If you work in an office setting or on an assembly line in a factory, you may not escape the chronic pain of repetitive stress syndrome. Here's a breakdown on these type of injuries:
- Causes: Repeated motions and remaining in awkward body positions for significant periods can have debilitating consequences.
- Example: Repetitive wrist motions can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, and many hours of staring at a computer screen while remaining in the same sitting position can cause vision problems, back and neck strain, and chronic headaches.
- Prevention: Request an ergonomic evaluation of your work environment, take regular breaks to stretch and try to vary tasks throughout the day -- if your job allows it.
Any occupational injury you might suffer allows you to pursue workers' compensation benefits. However, the onset of this type of injury may be difficult to pinpoint, and to prove that your injury is work-related may be tough. The best person to navigate benefit claims under these circumstances might be an experienced workers' compensation attorney in your area.