A worker holding his hurt leg in a lot of pain, sitting against stacks of boxes, beside the words "Workplace Injury Causes"

According to the latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 888,220 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were a direct result of workplace accidents in 2019. This accounts for 2.8% of all workers in the United States being injured on the job. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the employers had maintained safe work conditions for their employees.

What were the main causes of these accidents? Your dedicated team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. uncovered the top 10 causes of work accidents:

1. Overexertion

An overexertion injury occurs due to pulling, pushing, lifting, or otherwise moving an object. The technical term is overexertion involving an outside source. According to the 2019 Liberty Mutual Safety Index, overexertion involving outside sources resulted in $13.11 billion in damages. The percentage of injured workers who were injured due to overexertion is 23.65%, about 204,290 injured workers.

Overexertion can lead to painful injuries such as strains, pulled muscles, or tendonitis. These injuries are often the direct result of an employer forcing their workers to move excessively heavy objects without the proper equipment. It can also be caused by repetitive movements or being forced to work long hours with few or no breaks.

2. Falls on the Same Level

It is important to distinguish this injury from falls to a lower level, where an individual falls from a height. Falls on the same level often involve slip and fall accidents. They can be caused by slippery floors, objects that are obstructing the walking path, loose tiles, or other causes. This type of fall can lead to the fracture or breakage of bones in the spine, pelvis, hip, leg, ankle, hand, or arm. Employers often contribute to these accidents when they don’t address unsafe working conditions. In 2019, these accidents accounted for $10.38 billion in damages. 18.72% of workers who were injured in 2019 were injured due to a fall on the same level accident which is equal to about 166,274.

3. Struck By Object or Equipment

Injuries caused by moving objects or equipment can happen anywhere, but they’re especially common in warehouses and at construction sites. Being struck by a falling object, forklift, or other striking forces can lead to serious injury and in the worst cases, death. In fact, being struck by objects or equipment is the number one cause of death in the workplace. These kinds of injuries or deaths can often be avoided if employers and managers provide proper supervision, safety equipment, and maintenance of workplace conditions.

In 2019 these accidents accounted for $5.22 billion dollars in damages. Out of the 888,220 workers who were injured in 2019, 79,939 were struck by an object or equipment.

4. Falls to Lower Level

Falling off a structure or upper-level floor can lead to serious injuries or even death. Even seemingly short falls can lead to serious injuries – over 60% of falls to lower levels were from heights of less than 10 feet. When employers don’t supply workers with proper safety equipment or don’t install railings, employees are very susceptible to experiencing such falls.

In 2019 these accidents accounted for $4.98 billion in damages. Out of the 888,220 injuries caused by accidents, 71,057 were from falls to a lower level.

5. Other Exertions on the Body (or Bodily Actions)

Exertions in this category are generally ones that don’t lead to impact and aren’t due to overexertion with heavy objects. Examples include reaching, climbing, and bending over for long periods of time. Common outcomes of these actions include strains, tendonitis, and other overuse injuries.

In 2019 bodily actions resulted in $3.69 billion in damages. Out of 888,220 injuries, exertion on the body accounted for 53,293 injuries.

6. Roadway Incidents Involving a Motorized Vehicle

Job sites often have vehicles working alongside employees. Such vehicles may include semi-trucks, cranes, wreckers, dump trucks, or other motorized land vehicles. With vehicles and pedestrian workers operating in such close proximity, the chance for injury or death is significant. Other times, construction workers on the side of the road who aren’t supplied with proper safety equipment may be struck by non-work vehicles. In any work zone or workplace, employers and managers are responsible for keeping employees safe from harm caused by motor vehicles.

Motor vehicle accidents caused around $2.70 billion dollars in damages in 2019. Out of 888,220 work injuries, 35,528 were a result of a motor vehicle accident .

7. Slip or Trip Without Falling

Even if a worker does not fall, a slip or trip can lead to injury. Such injuries may include twisted ankles, fractures, or broken bones.

In 2019, slip or trip without falling accidents resulted in $2.18 billion dollars in damages. Out of the 888,220 work injuries, slip or trip without falling accidents accounted for 26,646.

8. Caught In Or Compressed By Equipment or Objects

Gears and other components of machinery can cause terrible accidents if a worker gets caught in them. Such incidents may lead to severed fingers, broken bones, or even death. These accidents often happen when workplace conditions are unsafe or machinery is improperly maintained.

In 2019, these accidents resulted in $1.93 billion in damages. Out of the 888,220 work injuries, a little under 26,646 resulted from being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects.

9. Repetitive Motions Involving Microtasks

This category most commonly involves desk workers without proper ergonomic support or enough breaks. Typing and doing other repetitive tasks when your desk and chair aren’t properly supportive can cause overuse injuries such as strains and tendonitis. Even if you have proper ergonomic support, you may suffer from overuse injuries if you are forced to work for several hours without breaks.

This type of injury accounted for $1.59 billion in damages in 2019. Out of 888,220 work-related injuries, 17,764 were a result of repetitive motions involving microtasks.

10. Struck Against Object or Equipment

Sometimes, workers may experience unavoidable collisions with objects or equipment. This may happen when workers are forced to work without proper lighting, a workplace has a low-hanging pipe, or equipment was not properly put away. These injuries can often be avoided if employers put up proper signage and make sure that workplace conditions are safe.

In 2019, struck against object or equipment accidents resulted in $1.15 billion in damages. They also accounted for a little under 17,764 work injuries out of all 888,220 work injuries that occurred that year.

If you have been injured on the job, contact the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or your injuries aren’t sufficiently covered by workers comp, you may be with a great financial burden on top of a terrible injury. Juan Hernandez is one of only 2% of lawyers who are board-certified in personal injury law, so you can count on him and his team to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.