Workers compensation claims weigh heavily on every business, but do you know what injuries are most likely to plague your workers? Though every field suffers from some injuries, office workers experience very different problems than those in more physical fields, such as construction or manufacturing. But the bottom line is that, with millions of dollars in workers compensation claims paid every year, it’s in your best interest to protect your employees.
Inside The Top Five
Across the United States, the top five workers compensation injuries are strains and sprains (30%), cuts and puncture wounds (19%), contusions (12%), burns (5%), and fractures (5%). What’s most interesting about these injuries, though, is that most of them are caused by accidents that could happen anywhere – not just in very physical jobs.
The most common reason for an injury across all claims, a full 32%, are caused during material handling tasks; this could mean carrying lumber at a construction site or lifting a box in an office. And the next most common cause, trips, slips, and falls, could happen anywhere from a hospital ER to behind the Starbucks counter. The simple fact is that workplace injuries can happen to any worker, in any field.
Just as there are many different types of workplace injuries, those injuries also vary widely in severity. For example, someone is far more likely to become permanently disabled in construction or working in a chicken processing plant than working in an office or a bank. Certain workers are also more likely to underreport pain and injuries. Workers in more secure positions and who make more money are also more likely to report their injuries in a timely fashion – and that’s important.
According to the North Carolina legal team of Younce, Vtipil, & Baznik, workers need to notify their employers within 30 days of an accidental injury. Workers who fail to do so can jeopardize their claim, in part because it’s harder to verify the cause of the injury.
While most workplace injuries happen while an individual employee is doing a common task, such as lifting boxes or even just typing, sometimes an unusual activity becomes grounds for a workers compensation claim. Consider, for example, work-related trips. What happens if an employee is involved in a car accident while attending a conference or meeting with a client while out of town?
Depending on the situation, there are several possible outcomes. If another driver caused the accident, they – or their insurance – will have to pay for your injuries and even for lost wages. However, if they’re driving a company car with a fellow employee, it’s possible your business may be held responsible, and it could become a workers compensation case.
Workers compensation cases can be long-term, evolving issues, whether due to protracted investigations, worsening injuries or complications (sometimes known as developmental cases), or due to issues like repetitive use injuries, which may not be immediately evident. As an employer, however, your goal should be to wrap up the investigation as quickly as possible – to everyone’s benefit.
In this way, you take care of your employees and get a potential legal issue off your desk. It’s the responsible thing to do when injury interrupts your business.