Work or Occupational Injuries

Common causes of job-related injuries are handling excessively heavy loads, misusing equipment, using faulty equipment, working in hazardous conditions, failing to take necessary safety precautions or complete proper safety training, or wearing improper clothing, jewelry, or hairstyles. Examples of workplace hazards are electrical wires and devices, explosives, fire and flammable substances, high heat or pressure, high structures, sharp objects, powerful machinery, low-oxygen environments, poisonous materials (including gases, radioactive substances, and toxins), large pools or bodies of water, and weak or compromised structures. To prevent or reduce occupational injuries, it’s important to complete a full risk assessment, conduct thorough employee safety training, issue proper protective equipment, and install adequate safety guards and barriers. Root cause analysis—a process by which investigators analyze past incidents to identify their root causes—is also an effective method of occupational injury prevention. Worldwide, more than 350,000 workplace fatalities and 270 million workplace injuries occur each year. In the United States, men accounted for the vast majority (92%) of total fatalities (4,383) in 2012. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that about 15 workers die as a result of traumatic injuries each day in the U.S., and about 200 are sent to the hospital. The top three industries affected by occupational injuries are construction; transportation and warehousing; and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.