What are the Most Common Claims for Workers’ Compensation?

Normally when people think of workers’ compensation, they think of serious injuries in physically demanding jobs. On the contrary, people in all fields and industries can incur injuries on the job that qualifies for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation insurance is coverage that is designed to help employees recover from injuries sustained in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private industry reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2020. It is important for both employers and employees to know the most common claims for workers’ compensation.

8 Most Common Claims for Workers’ Compensation

Strains and Sprains

Strain injuries occur when a tendon or muscle is torn or stretched. This can happen when using improper lifting techniques or lifting awkwardly shaped objects. Strain injuries account for 30% of workers’ compensation claims in the United States.

Repetitive strain injuries can also occur from making the same motion over and over again. These types of injuries can be more difficult to prove in terms of workers’ compensation because the symptoms are more gradual. If you can connect symptoms, like pain and swelling, to a required workplace task, be sure to report symptoms.

Sprains occur when a ligament is torn or stretched. It is particularly common on wrists and ankles. Sprains account for over 8% of workers’ compensation claims.

Overuse

Overuse is the most common claim for workers’ compensation. Overuse or overexertion happens when a person strains or pulls a muscle or joint or even slips a disk from overextending to lift, pull, push, or turn an item. It is most common in physically demanding jobs like construction and medicine, but it can happen in any occupation. Here are some common overuse injuries:

  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve damage
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Runner’s knee
  •  Tennis Elbow

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls can lead to a wide range of injuries like sprains, contusions, and lacerations. Injuries coming from slips, trips, and falls account for 27.5% of workplace injuries. These types of injuries generally occur when the floor is wet or when the floor is uneven. It can also cause reaction injuries. Reaction injuries occur when you prevent yourself from falling but injure another part of your body in the process, like when you trip, and you use your arm to prevent your body from hitting the ground, but you scrape your arm in the process.

Severe Cuts and Lacerations

Lacerations, or cuts, account for over 11% of workers’ compensation claims. These often occur in the food service industry and other industries that require the frequent use of sharp objects. Severe cuts and lacerations occur when a worker uses a tool that is kept in poor condition or misuses the tool. Employees should be advised to keep areas tidy and never leave equipment unattended to decrease the risk of severe cuts and lacerations. Additionally, employers should proactively replace or sharpen dull blades and machinery parts.

Struck by or Against an Object

These types of injuries occur when something falls on an employee or when an employee falls into something. These injuries can occur in any occupational setting. In offices and retail stores, things can fall off of high shelves and hit an employee. In factories or on construction sites, machinery or tools can fall and strike an employee. An array of injuries can occur by being struck by or against an object.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a more recent and devastating addition to this list. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 375 workers were killed in shootings on the job in 2012 in the US. This number represents all industries in the US.

Machinery Accidents

Machinery accidents are one of the most dangerous and most common claims for workers’ compensation. These types of accidents occur due to misuse of equipment or faulty machinery. These injuries can be extremely dangerous and lead to serious health complications and huge medical cost ramifications. To prevent machinery accidents, employers should provide proper training for using equipment and frequently check on the operation of the machine.

Burns

Burns are injuries to tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, steam, sunlight, or radiation. Burns are particularly common in the food services industry, but they are also common in industries that frequently use chemicals. Burns can also happen internally with smoke inhalation. To prevent burn injuries, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn any time you are handling chemicals or hot materials.

One of the greatest issues with workers’ compensation claims is a lack of understanding surrounding the process. Work Health Solutions provides Workers Comp Care and Management, which can help employers and employees develop a greater understanding of the workers’ compensation claims process!

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