Industrial injuries are accidents which occur at a place of employment, or diseases which occur as a result of employment at a particular workplace. Industrial injuries can occur suddenly or over time. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 3 million Americans suffered from non-fatal industrial injuries in 2012. Approximately 4,383 workers died from industrial injuries in the United States in 2012.
Types of Industrial Injuries
An industrial accident is an industrial injury that can be traced back to a specific event which occurred suddenly or in less than five days. An industrial disease is an industrial injury which developed over time from constant stress on a part of the body or exposure to materials, chemicals, noise, radiation, ultraviolet light, or other harmful substances or environmental factors at a place of employment. The types of industrial injuries that workers are susceptible to may vary greatly depending on the job.
According to the Department of Labor and Industries, the most common types of industrial injuries that occur at workplaces include:
- Traffic accidents
- Body part being caught in, under, or between machinery or tools
- Falls from elevation
- Falls from the same level
- Being struck by an object or material
- Loud noise damaging ear drum
- Lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders, strain or overuse injuries to the feet and legs
- Upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders , strain or overuse injuries to the upper body
Industrial Injuries Risk Factors
Approximately 92 percent of all workers that were affected by industrial injuries in the United States in 2012 were men. Less experienced workers carry a higher risk of injury than more experienced workers in each industry. While nearly all jobs carry some risk of injury, some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others.
The occupations which carried the highest number of fatalities and injuries in 2012 include:
- Commercial fishing
- Aircraft piloting
- Working with iron or steel
- Refuse and recycling collecting
- Electrical repair and installation
- Trucking or shipping
- Types of Construction Actions
Industrial Injury Prevention
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is the organization within the United States that is in charge of ensuring workplace compliance with safety codes. If workplaces are in violation of codes and safety laws, fines may be levied against the employer by OSHA. To ensure that workplaces are in compliance with codes, OSHA representatives may do periodic inspections and cite employers for violations which may put workers’ health or safety in jeopardy.
Injury and Illness Prevention Programs
In some states, it is required that workplaces have an injury and illness prevention program in place. OSHA will be able to provide guidelines and recommendations for implementing these programs, which will vary greatly depending on the type of industry. The main facets of all injury and illness prevention programs are hazard identification, hazard prevention control, employee education of potential hazards, and program evaluation and improvement.
Employee Injury Procedure
If an employee sustains an industrial injury, the workplace is required to file and industrial injury report. This report must usually be filed within seven days of the incident or knowledge of the illness, in order for the place of employment to avoid penalties. This injury report will be filed with the workplace’s workers’ compensation insurance company and with the Labor Commission. The worker should tell medical professionals that the injury or illness is work related.
Compensation for Injury
In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance will provide compensation for any workers that sustain industrial injuries. However, if the workplace does not carry adequate workers’ compensation coverage, or if the injury occurred due to negligence or misconduct on the part of the employer, an attorney may be able to assist in recovering costs associated with the injury from the employer. If a product or toxic substance caused the injury, an attorney may be able to provide advice about recovering costs from the manufacturer of the product or substance.
“Employer-Related Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.”Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor, 07 Nov 2013. Web. 22 Mar 2014. <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf>
“Injury and Illness Prevention Programs.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration. U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 22 Mar 2014. <https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/OSHAwhite-paper-january2012sm.pdf>
“Safety and Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Feb 2014. Web. 22 Mar 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/safety.html>