Top 10 Pennsylvania Work Injuries: Types & Causes

injured worker

No matter what you do for a living, you may be at risk of being injured while trying to do your job. Whether you're in an office, on a construction site, or traveling on the open road, it's crucial to be aware of potential hazards and to be prepared.

Here, we'll consider the leading types and causes of work injuries in Pennsylvania. Our goal is to inform and empower you, the worker. Knowledge is your best defense, and by understanding these common injuries, you'll be better equipped to protect yourself and seek the right assistance if an accident does occur. After all, a serious work injury may impact your life in profound ways. Your ability to get the treatment and support you need can make all the difference as you put the pieces back together.

Top 10 Types of Work Injuries in PA

According to the 2022 Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Safety Annual Report, the most commonly reported types of work injuries were:

1. Sprains & Strains (35.4%)

These are injuries to the ligaments (sprains) and muscles or tendons (strains). Often a result of overexertion, improper lifting, or sudden movements, they are the most commonly reported work-related injuries. Proper training, stretching, and ergonomic practices can help prevent them.

2. Contusions, Bruises & Crush Injuries (20.9%)

These types of injuries often arise from being "struck by" or "struck against" incidents. While bruises may seem minor, internal contusions or crushing injuries can have severe and even life-threatening implications.

3. Other (16.5%)

This category encompasses various injuries that did not fit neatly into defined types, emphasizing the varied nature of workplace injuries.

4. Cuts, Lacerations & Punctures (14.4%)

These injuries often result from sharp objects, machinery, or even mishandling office equipment. It's crucial to handle sharp tools with care and ensure safety gear, like gloves, is worn when necessary. Proper guarding on machinery and lockout/tagout procedures are other ways to prevent these on-the-job injuries.

5. Fractures (3.7%)

Fractured and broken bones can result from falls, being struck by objects, or even sudden body reactions. Fractures can range from minor to severe, requiring extended periods for recovery.

6. Unclassified (3.2%)

These reports of work injuries did not specify which area of the body was impacted.

7. Multiple Injuries (2.3%)

In some accidents, workers suffered from multiple types of injuries. This can make the recovery process longer and more complicated.

8. Heat & Chemical Burns (1.7%)

Burns can result from exposure to open flames, hot surfaces, chemicals, or radiation. Those working around heat sources or chemicals should be especially vigilant and wear protective gear.

9. Occupational Illnesses (1.7%)

Long-term exposure to certain work environments can lead to illnesses. This can range from respiratory conditions due to working in dust-laden environments to repetitive stress injuries in office jobs.

10. Amputation, Enucleation & Loss of Use (0.2%)

Severe accidents can lead to the tragic loss of a body part or its function. This has profound implications, not only physically but emotionally and psychologically. A person who has experienced this type of injury is likely to suffer lifelong consequences.

The majority of these injuries were to the upper extremities (shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers), accounting for 36.3% of reported work injuries. 22.2% were injuries to the lower extremities (hips, legs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes). Injuries to the trunk (back, chest, and abdomen) were the third-most common, equaling 18.1% of reported injuries.

Top 10 Causes of Work Injuries

In 2022, the 10 most reported causes of work injuries in Pennsylvania were:

1. Overexertion

Most commonly reported, overexertion happens when someone pushes their body beyond its limit. This can be from lifting, pulling, pushing, or other strenuous activities. Even desk jobs can lead to overexertion, especially if you're not taking regular breaks or using ergonomic equipment.

2. Struck By

Being hit by an object, especially a heavy or fast-moving one, is a frequent cause of workplace injuries. This could be from tools falling at a construction site or items tumbling off shelves in a warehouse.

3. Fall on Same Level

Slips, trips, and falls on the same level often result from wet floors, cluttered spaces, or poor lighting. Employers must take appropriate measures to keep workspaces free from these hazards (or place proper warning signs), whether in an office, retail space, or factory.

4. Struck Against

This injury occurs when a worker runs or walks into an object like a wall, door, cabinet, glass window, etc.

5. Other

This category covers a range of injuries that don't fit clearly into the other categories.

6. Body Reaction

These are injuries caused by an unnatural reaction of the body. Think of it as straining a muscle when trying to catch a suddenly falling object or twisting an ankle while turning quickly.

7. Caught In, Under, or Between

Workers can get caught in machinery, trapped under heavy objects, or crushed between equipment. This is particularly common in manufacturing and construction.

8. Radiation/Caustics

Exposure to radiation or caustic chemicals can have severe consequences. Those working in healthcare, labs, or certain industrial sectors should always follow safety protocols regarding chemical handling, storage, exposure, and more.

9. Highway Motor Accident

For those whose work involves driving or being on the road, traffic accidents are a clear risk. This includes truckers, delivery drivers, and even salespeople. Highway construction workers are also at risk of this type of injury.

10. Fall from Higher Level

Falls from a height, such as ladders, rooftops, or scaffolding, can lead to serious injuries or even death.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job?

First, seek medical attention immediately. Your health is the primary concern. Inform your supervisor about the incident and ensure it's documented.

Then, this is where Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC comes in. Considering the complexity of workers' compensation laws in Pennsylvania, it's vital to involve a seasoned lawyer who can guide you through the claims process, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. As a firm that has been representing injured workers for more than 100 years, we understand the intricacies of the system and are here to advocate for your rights.

Remember, injuries can occur in any occupation. It's not about pointing fingers but ensuring injured workers get the support they need. If you or someone you know has been injured at work, don't hesitate to reach out. Our legacy is one of dedication and success, and we’re here for you.

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