When it comes to on-the-job deaths, what are the top causes?
After discussing the top 10 causes of on-the-job injuries
, I wanted to turn to the leading causes of death in the workplace. The Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that in America, 13 people are killed on the job every day. Preliminary 2011 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor shows that 148 individuals in North Carolina suffered fatal work injuries. Although the specifics of each case vary, there are 12 unfortunately all too common causes of death in the workplace. These are:
- 1. Collision between vehicles on the highway. This remains the most common cause of fatal occupational injuries.
- 2. Non-collisions involving vehicles, such as rollovers.
- 3. Workers struck by a vehicle.
- 4. Accidents involving non-highway vehicles, including industrial and farm vehicles.
- 5. Struck by falling objects.
- 6. Contacting an electrical current.
- 7. Fall to lower level.
- 8. Caught in or crushed by equipment or objects.
- 9. Struck by a non-moving object.
- 10. Fires and explosions.
- 11. Falls from a roof.
- 12. Falls from a ladder.
I’ll examine these causes of workplace fatalities in more detail in blog posts to come, but if a loved one has died due to an on-the-job injury, it is important to quickly seek the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to fully understand your rights.
High-profile incidents of workplace violence
unfortunately seem to occur all too frequently. But murder is not the only type of violence in the workplace. According to the Department of Justice, 2 million assaults occur each year at work. These include rapes, robberies and murders but also threats, verbal abuse, physical attacks and intimidation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act, administered by OSHA, requires employers to provide a workplace "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees." You as an employee have the right to work in a safe environment.
What stand has your employer taken on aggressive, or violent, behavior in the workplace? Is there a zero-tolerance policy in place and is it followed? Have managers and supervisors been properly trained to recognize danger signals, such as an employee making bizarre remarks or verbal threats? What is the procedure if a termination occurs? Does your employer offer an Employee Assistance Program where employees can safely and confidentially discuss personal problems? Are thorough background investigations conducted for all employees?
With workplace violence one of the 10 most common on-the-job injuries, it’s important that if you or a loved one has been involved with an incident of violence at work, that you contact an attorney. An experienced lawyer
will be able to help you fully understand North Carolina’s workers’ comp law
When workers use the same movements over and over again for an extended period of time, repetitive motion injuries, also called cumulative trauma disorders, may occur. This is yet another on-the-job injury
that happens all too often.
Unlike the potentially horrifying and gruesome accidents discussed in my last post
—those that fall into the “caught in” or “crushed by” category—repetitive motion injuries happen over a gradual period of time so they aren’t necessarily as dramatic or instantaneous as other workplace accidents. Take something like carpal tunnel syndrome; it doesn’t happen in a life-altering instant. Over time though, the repetitive task may lead to the painful progressive condition and cause numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle damage in the hand and fingers. Tendonitis and bursitis are other common types of repetitive motion injuries. Tendonitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, biceps or elbow. Common areas for bursitis are the knee, elbow and hip.
Has your workplace allowed you periodic breaks to reduce the wear and tear on your body? Is job rotation—allowing workers to change positions or job tasks periodically to prevent over use of any particular body part—a practice at your worksite?
Regardless of the type of repetitive motion injury one has, it is imperative to discuss the situation with an experienced and skilled workers’ compensation attorney
. Let a lawyer
that understands North Carolina’s workers’ comp law
and your rights help you navigate your claim.
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