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Ten Causes of Workplace Injury

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An insurance industry publication, Claims Journal, provides insight into the most common work injuries in the United States. Drawing upon state and federal statistics and insurance industry information, the article identified the 10 most common causes of workplace injuries.

1. The most common workplace injury is caused by overexertion. These injuries typically involve lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing.

2. According to one industry source, one-third of worker injuries in the Midwest are the result of falling on ice or snow. Not surprisingly, the states with the greatest number of winter-related falls are Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.

3. Being hit by an object or piece of equipment was the third most common cause of workplace injury. Examples include a crane tipping and falling on a worker, tools falling from a higher level onto a worker, building materials falling from a hoist, and items or swinging falling from cranes.

4. Falls to a lower level are the fourth most common cause of worker injuries and fatalities.

5. Roadway injuries are the fourth most common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. The most frequent type of accident involves a worker being struck by a moving vehicle at a road construction site. This type of injury is most common in Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California.

6. The fifth most common workplace injury is overexertion caused by bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing or walking.

7. The sixth most common work injury resulted from slips and trips that did not cause falls.

8. The seventh most common work injury was caused by being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects. This type of accident could involve trench or wall collapses that trap workers, falling into or being crushed by equipment or machinery, and loads that fall off cranes, lifts or hoists, crush workers beneath.

9. Repetitive motions are the eighth most common cause of work injuries. These injuries typically involve the wrist, shoulder and elbow. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of this type of injury.

10. When a worker hits (as opposed to being struck by) a stationary object other object as a piece of equipment or structure, that is referred to as a "struck against" injury. These injuries typically involve a worker hitting something that either causes injury or gives way, causing another type of incident. Examples include hitting an object with a body part, usually an arm or a leg. Depending on the type of object, injuries can range from bruising to amputation. Examples include running into another worker, pipe, or other object. These injuries can also be caused by kicking, stepping on or being pushed into an object.

While such injuries are common in the construction industry, they can happen anywhere - in a factory, retail store, warehouse, office or among public safety employees. The only difference is really the frequency of these accidents, which varies depending on the type of industry. For example, repetitive motion injuries are more common among assembly line workers, meatpacking employees and others whose jobs require them to perform the same tasks over and over.