While we all would like to think of our workplace as a safe environment, millions of fatal and nonfatal work-related accidents occur in the U.S. every year. They can happen to any worker, but there are some industries, due to the nature of the work, that have a greater inherent risk of accidents. Several industries in Georgia are considered high risk for employee mortality and accidents, including construction workers, truck drivers, maintenance workers, and others. Thankfully, most workers who are injured on the job in Georgia can rely on workers’ compensation benefits to help out with medical expenses and lost income. If you have sustained an injury at work and need help filing a claim, contact a qualified Georgia workers’ compensation attorney.
Here’s a closer look at some of the most accident prone industries and the most common types of injuries sustained by employees on the job.
The healthcare industry includes any workers who are involved, directly or indirectly, with providing health services to individuals. In addition to doctors and other medical staff, this industry also includes employees working in medical equipment maintenance, housekeeping, building and ground maintenance, laundry, and administration.
It may seem counter-intuitive that the people we entrust to keep us in good health are actually at high risk for workplace injuries, but it’s true. Based in a variety of work environments, such as hospitals, clinics, out-patient surgery centers, dental offices, emergency facilities, nursing homes, and more, healthcare workers can face many different safety and health hazards including, but not limited to:
- Bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards;
- Lifting and repetitive tasks;
- Chemical, drug, waste, and gas exposure;
- Laboratory-related hazards;
- Respiratory hazards;
- Radioactive and x-ray hazards;
- Handling of patients; and
- Slip and fall hazards.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more workers in the healthcare and social assistance sector have the highest rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. In fact, in 2013 one in five of reported work-related injuries occurred in this sector. Musculoskeletal disorders, which make up roughly 30 percent of all workers’ compensation claims, are the highest among healthcare workers. The healthcare industry saw 249 musculoskeletal disorders per 10,000 workers compared to the average rate of 34 per 10,000 workers in 2010.
Farming, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Although the farming, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector employs a relatively small proportion of U.S. workers, it is one of the most prevalent industries in Georgia. In fact, without the contribution of hardworking Georgians, many parts of the country would say goodbye to many types of fruit, meat, and nut products provided by Georgia agriculture. This sector includes agricultural workers on farms with crops and livestock, fishers and hunters, forest and conservation workers, and logging workers. Workers who participate in farming, forestry, fishing, and hunting activities may be exposed to a number of work-related hazards, including:
- Machines and equipment;
- Grain bins and silos;
- Pesticides and other chemical hazards;
- Unsanitary conditions;
- Zoonotic infections and related hazards;
- Respiratory hazards; and
- Heat and excessive noise hazards;
The BLS reported an average of 5.5 injury cases per 100 workers in 2014, with the greatest number of incidents related to animal-production. In Georgia, farmers and farm laborers are exempted from workers’ compensation.
Transportation and Warehousing Sector
There are over 4.8 million workers involved in the transportation and warehousing sector, covering a wide range of industries. They are responsible for the transportation of passengers and cargo by air, rail, road, water, and pipeline, for the storage of goods, and all support activities necessary for transportation. It is unsurprising that this sector is highly prone to injury since transportation accidents are very common and warehouses are full of dangerous equipment and other hazards. Depending on the subsector the employee is working in, the hazards will differ, but may include any of the following:
- Transportation-related accidents from human or mechanical error;
- Irregular or slippery work surfaces;
- Mechanical and equipment hazards;
- Being struck or crushed by objects;
- Exposure to toxic fuels, lubricants, and exhaust fumes;
- Risk of injury from loading and unloading of cargo, stacking, and retrieving materials;
- Stress and overexertion.
In 2014, the transportation and warehousing sector reported 4.8 injuries per 100 workers to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A majority of work-related accidents in the transportation and warehousing sector can be prevented with proper and consistent safety training and practices.
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
Considered a subsector of leisure and hospitality; there are over two million workers involved in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector. These professionals work in many different establishments and facilities that provide cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests. They range from actors, musicians, and singers to fitness trainers, gaming supervisors, and amusement and recreation attendants.
While the average number of occupational injuries in this sector is around 4.2 cases per 100 workers, the rate was higher – 4.7 – for those workers whose jobs involved “performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries.”
The manufacturing industry is responsible for the creation of a wide variety of products in plants, factories, and mills across the country. It is one of the most populous industries, with over 12 million workers who produce food and beverage products, textiles, apparel, paper, metal products, petroleum, plastics, electrical equipment, furniture, machinery, computers, and many other products. Some of the most serious hazards manufacturing employees face include:
- Heavy machinery and equipment;
- Chemical and bio-hazards;
- Slip and fall hazards;
- Fires from equipment and electrical wires; and
- Confined spaces that may lead to suffocation.
Government and private entities have worked diligently to reduce the number of injuries in the manufacturing sector, significantly reducing injury rates. Despite progress, the manufacturing industry still ranks as one of the most accident-prone injuries in the country, with four cases per 100 workers in 2014.
Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Regardless of what industry you are working in, it’s important to be aware of the inherent risks of your workplace. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, there’s compensation available for your medical expenses and any missed days at work. For questions regarding your Georgia workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to contact WCL Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys. We will help you find out exactly what your claim is worth and help get the most compensation available.