According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.8 million American workers were hurt on the job in 2017. While workplace injuries happen in many different ways, there are certain types of accidents that seem to occur over and over again.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries publishes comprehensive data on workers’ compensation claims that have been received and accepted by the agency. This includes information on the cause of the workplace accident, the type of injury sustained by the worker, and the amount paid to resolve the claim. More than 80 percent of all job-related injuries reported in Washington fit into one of the following categories.
The Eight Most Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in Washington (Fiscal Year 2018)
1. Fall Accidents
Not only are workplace falls the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in Washington, fall accidents have the potential to result in devastating, life-altering injuries. Fall accidents are broken down into multiple different categories, including ‘same level falls,’ which are usually slip, trip and fall accidents and ‘falls from height.’ While falls can occur at many different worksites, they are especially pervasive in the construction industry. Thousands of construction workers are injured or killed in fall accidents every year.
2. Struck By Objects
Many Washington workers are also injured in ‘striking’ accidents. Flying, falling, swinging, and rolling objects all have the potential to injure workers. These accidents include everything from employees swinging hammers without recognizing another person being nearby to building materials falling on a jobsite. Workers who have been hit by a foreign object can suffer many different injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, eye injuries, deep lacerations, and much more.
Overexertion is a sprain or strain that is caused by employees putting in effort that is beyond their physical limits. A typical example of this is a worker lifting a heavy object and sustaining a significant back injury as a result. However, overexertion injuries are also caused by many movements other than lifting, including pulling, pushing, turning, holding, carrying, and throwing.
4. Exposure to Harmful Substances
Exposure to any harmful substance or toxic chemicals may result in a serious injury, an occupational disease, or other medical complications. In some cases, dangerous exposure requires emergency medical treatment. In other cases, the damage occurs many years after repetitive toxic exposure. With occupational disease claims, there are unique legal issues that must be considered.
5. Repetitive Motion Injuries
Not every workers’ compensation claim arises as a result of an acute injury or a single accident. Over the last year for which data is available, the Department of Labor and Industries reports that it has accepted 3,241 workers’ compensation claims for repetitive motion injuries. Also sometimes referred to as a repetitive stress injury or a repetitive trauma injury, this type of injury occurs gradually over time as the result of repeated pressure or strain on the body. A common example of this injury is an office worker developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
6. Transportation Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents have the potential to result in severe injuries. If you are on the road as part of your job—whether on a regular basis as a delivery driver, a bus driver, or sporadically for specific events—there is always a risk that you may be involved a traffic collision. Work-related car accidents are covered under Washington’s workers’ compensation program.
7. Machinery Accidents
Heavy machinery has the potential to be extremely dangerous. If adequate safety precautions are not taken, a worker may suffer severe injuries. In some cases, industrial machinery accidents occur because employees were not properly trained or because the equipment was not inspected or maintained. In other instances, defective machinery may put workers at serious risk.
8. Workplace Assaults
Unfortunately, workplace violence remains a serious problem. In the 2018 fiscal year, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries reports that 2,396 workers’ compensation claims were accepted for employees who were injured as a result of an assault or violent attack by another person.
Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington workers’ compensation attorneys have broad experience handling work injury claims. No matter the circumstances of your accident, we are prepared to protect your legal rights and financial interests. For a free, no obligation review of your legal claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Seattle law office today at (206) 539-1929.