Accidents can occur anywhere and at any time. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of them, many of which occur in workplaces every year. Research shows that, in the average person’s lifetime, over 92,000 hours will be spent at work; with so much time at work, there is a high chance of accidents.
Accidents in the workplace can disrupt productivity, cause financial losses, and lead to physical harm, undue stress, and hardship for employees and employers. More serious accidents can have a long-term physical and emotional impact on victims and significant financial implications for the business.
What Is Workplace Accident
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace accidents as unplanned events that cause damage to property or personal injury. Therefore, workplace accidents do not constitute intentional occurrences.
It is also known as an occupational accident, an unforeseen event in the workplace that results in an injury, a casualty, or illness to an employee.
Types of Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents can result in various types of injuries depending on the accident. Some of the most common workplace accidents include:
1. Overexertion and Tiredness
Overexertion is caused by lifting, pulling, and carrying work equipment or material, bringing about muscle strain. Workers who do repetitive manual tasks over a long time with no breaks will likely experience overexertion.
Also, most physical activities may become tiring over a long period. Workers tend to get bred and tired of doing a task repeatedly.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the Health and Safety Executive, an average of two employees die yearly due to a slip, trip, or fall. Falls can happen in workplaces; workers can fall from high-point areas such as roofs, skyscrapers, and ladders. Falls are dangerous because they can lead to loss of life, fractures, or paralysis.
Trips and slip accidents are common in workplaces and are caused mainly by poor lighting, uneven floors, wet slippery floors, or clutter. They can lead to broken bones or long-term back pains; however, they can easily be avoided.
3. Being Struck by or Caught in Moving Machinery
This accident mostly happens to workers working with heavy machinery, farm equipment, and construction equipment, and it is commonly found in factories. When body parts get caught in or struck by exposed moving parts or flying objects from machines without protective guards, it results in injuries like crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, blindness, and so on.
4. Fire and Explosions
Explosions and fires in the workplace are frequently caused by faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials, or open flames. Explosions and fires account for about 3 per cent of workplace injuries and have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents.
Effects of Workplace Accidents on Personal Injury Settlements
Workers’ compensation laws ensure employees injured at the workplace receive compensation through benefits. Employers are to provide benefits to those injured regardless of who is at fault, even if they are responsible for the accident. Workers’ compensation laws also benefit dependents of workers killed due to work-related accidents or illnesses.
Likewise, workers also lose their right to sue an employer in court where they can prove fault since they will receive benefits regardless of fault. The worker also loses the right to pursue pain and suffering and punitive damages that would punish an employer for having dangerous working conditions.