Regardless of the industry in which you earn your living as a member of the Missouri workforce, there will always be a potential for a workplace accident. Your employer might be conscientious and attentive to compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but the slightest safety violation could have devastating consequences. Vigilance of employers and employees is essential to limit hazards.
While many hazards that you might face pose physical dangers, you must not forget about the mental and psychological challenges to which your job might expose you.
Common injury causes
OSHA authorities say all workplace injuries are preventable if proper safety protocols are in place and enforced. On-the-job injuries can result from fatigue, overexertion and many other causes. The following are common but preventable work-related injury causes that send workers to hospitals, and, sadly, rob families of their loved ones:
- Transportation accidents: The Bureau of Labor statistics classify any injuries that involve work vehicles under this category of occupational injury causes. It includes cars, trucks, big rigs, forklifts and any other work vehicle along with wrecks that involve flight, rail or water transports.
- Slip-and-fall accidents: Slips can occur on any surfaces where liquids or fluids are present due to spills, leaks or other cause such as highly polished floors or inappropriate footwear. These falls are typically backward, and you could suffer any of a variety of fractures and even traumatic brain injuries, depending on the position in which you land.
- Trip-and-fall accidents: Random objects in walkways, extension cords, and unsecured carpets or rugs can cause trips, especially in poorly lit areas. If you trip, you will likely fall forward, and the instinct to protect yourself by putting out your hands could cause arm, wrist or hand fractures.
- Musculoskeletal injuries: You could suffer overexertion injuries such as pulled, torn, sprained or strained muscles when you lift heavy objects or even frequent lifting, pushing or pulling of lighter objects.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: If your job involves repetitive motions, they can strain the median nerve between the wrist and the hand. This condition can cause excruciating pain in your fingers and hands.
- Hazardous material injuries: If you work with chemicals, toxic waste or any other hazardous materials without protective eyewear, gloves and other mandatory protective clothing, it can lead to respiratory diseases, explosions, burns, skin infections and even blindness.
- Falling objects: Falling objects can threaten you in any environment -- from construction sites to offices. Items falling from shelves and tools dropped from scaffolds are equally hazardous.
- Workplace violence: Along with internal threats of violence, disgruntled ex-employees, estranged spouses and others can harm you and your coworkers. However, threats can originate from mail, packages and phone threats.
- Physical, mental and stress-related distractions: If your job requires you to push beyond your limits to meet deadlines, or if finances, job security, health issues or relationships cause excessive stress, you could become distracted and suffer physical injuries or be at risk of hypertension, stroke or a heart attack.
If you suffer any of these workplace injuries, regardless of who is at fault, you might be eligible for compensation to cover your medical expenses and wage replacement if your injuries caused lost work time. Legal counsel is available to assist with the navigation of a benefits claim to file with the Missouri workers' compensation insurance program.