According to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on November 8th, 2018: “There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017.” Worse yet, data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that, “5,147 workers died on the job in 2017.” Getting hurt on the job is an all too common occurrence in Florida, regardless of industry—though workplace injuries are more common for some occupations than others.
When you’re injured at work, it can cause massive disruption to your life—especially when the injury is severe enough to require hospitalization. Workers’ Compensation insurance is supposed to help you cover your costs for workplace injuries, but it isn’t always enough. One of the keys to preventing Florida workplace injuries is knowing their common causes and watching for the warning signs of a potentially dangerous workplace environment.
BLS maintains an annual report of workplace injuries by cause of injury. According to their data, the top causes of workplace injuries across the U.S. in 2017 were Overexertion and Bodily Reaction, Contact with Objects and Equipment, Falls, Slips, and Trips, Transportation Incidents, Violence and Other Injuries by Persons or Animals, and Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments.
Many of these workplace injury categories can be further divided into subcategories, such as “contact with objects and equipment,” which can be broken down into “struck by objects or equipment,” “struck against object or equipment,” and “caught in or compressed by objects or equipment.”
Of the overexertion injury category, one of the most common causes of injury was overexertion in lifting and lowering objects (97,990 workplace injuries). Approximately 62,210 falling injuries were the result of slip and fall accidents where an employee slipped on a smooth or irregular surface.
|Overexertion and Bodily Reaction||295,830 cases|
|Contact with Objects and Equipment||229,170 cases|
|Falls, Slips, and Trips||227,760 cases|
|Transportation Incidents||47,910 cases|
|Violence and Other Injuries by Persons or Animals||39,750 cases|
|Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments||37,110 cases|
If you’re injured at work, who is responsible for the injury? As stated by OSHA, “Under the OSH law, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.” This constitutes many separate responsibilities on the part of employers, such as eliminating any major workplace hazards, putting up appropriate signage, providing safe workplace tools, and giving employees appropriate workplace safety training.
When employers neglect things such as basic building maintenance or safety training, they may be culpable for any workplace injuries that occur. This is why most states (Florida included) require employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, if the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance isn’t enough to cover the cost of treatment and lost wages (or the employer neglected to acquire insurance), it may be necessary to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the employer.