Member Insights by Donahey Law Firm
If you have a business, you’ll likely have a worker accident at some point. In Ohio, 2.7 out of every 100 workers will experience an accident in the workplace. It’s important to know how to mitigate risk and what to do in the event an accident occurs.
Workplace accident statistics vary widely by industry and there are many cases in which accidents exceed the average. The healthcare industry sees 4 accidents, manufacturing 3.5, warehousing and transportation 3.4, and the construction industry has 3.2 workplace accidents per 100 employees.
Slipping and falling on floors and walkways is one of the largest causes of injury, but even passive actions such as body positioning while sitting or standing for long periods of time can cause pain and serious issues. Overexertion and contact with objects are the top causes of injury. Sprains, cuts, soreness, and bruises are all common issues that can arise from moderate to minor accidents. Serious accidents can lead to fractures, permanent disability, and even death.
Of the body parts most commonly injured, the back is top of the list with over 17.8% of injuries reported. The hands are second with 13.6%, followed by head injuries at 8.1% and shoulders and knees with 7.5% and 7.2%.
Prevention is always the best medicine. You can mitigate your risk by using appropriate equipment that is properly maintained, implementing employee safety training programs, and creating response plans in the event an accident does occur. Make sure employees, especially managers, have proper CPR and first aid training, so they can effectively deal with any event that occurs. It’s also a good idea to have programs that slowly bring people back to work with modified duties to prevent reinjury.
If a workplace accident occurs, take these important steps:
- Clear the area of other employees to ensure their safety
- Evaluate the worker’s injuries and treat as necessary
- For anything requiring care past basic first aid, call 911 immediately
- Gather evidence such as photos and witness statements while the details are fresh in their minds
- Don’t touch equipment or disturb the scene
- File a worker’s comp claim if necessary
The cost of a worker accident often exceeds medical bills and wages. The lost days of work mean lowered productivity and increased stress on other staff to complete the injured worker’s tasks. Cleanup and repair of machinery involved in the accident can be costly and workers comp payments may rise after a claim. If the worker sues for damages, court costs and lengthy arguments can place a large financial burden on your company.
Workplace accidents are unavoidable. The best way to deal with them is to mitigate your risk, have plans prepared for when one occurs, and keep open communication with your injured worker.