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Understanding 5 common workplace injuries

Pennsylvania workers may be shocked to learn that nationwide, five types of workplace accidents cost billions of dollars every year. These accidents alone account for 73.1 percent of the costs of all workplace accidents, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index for 2010; combined costs for these five accident classifications were $37.9 billion.

Overexertion accounted for more than 26.8 percent or $13.61 billion of the costs. Injuries in this category occurred when workers tried to lift, push, pull or carry something that was too heavy. A worker asking another person for help or using mechanical devices can prevent these injuries. Falling on the same level took second place with 16.9 percent of total costs or $8.61 billion. These workplace injuries can be prevented by keeping the work area tidy and wearing anti-slip shoes.

The other three types of accidents were bodily reaction, falling to a lower level, and struck by an object, perhaps a tool from above. Bodily reaction injuries involve injuries that occur when a person is bending, reaching or climbing. Workers can prevent these accidents from happening by being in good physical condition so they can bend or reach without difficulty, making sure ladders are in good working condition, and wearing hardhats or other personal protective equipment such as safety glasses or face shields.

Pennsylvania offers workers benefits to assist employees injured on the job while they recuperate. These benefits generally include medical expenses and lost wages if the person is unable to work. However, the workers' compensation system may be complicated, and some claims may be denied or prolonged unnecessarily. An attorney may be able to help individuals facing such circumstances pursue benefits despite those setbacks.

Source: EHS Today, "Preventing the Top 5 Workplace Injuries", Langdon Dement , November 16, 2014

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