Top 5 Workplace Injuries

Accidents happen. At least that’s how the saying goes. But what about accidents in the workplace? Apart from the obvious detriment to the injured person/employee there’s also the cost to the business – time off work, replacement staff, potential damages claims, increased insurance premiums if your claims experience is worsened.

So, if accidents happen, what are the most commonplace accidents?

QBE have recently analysed the data from their RIDDOR Minor Injury Management Service which started in 2007.

Since inception, their service has treated over 3500 people enabling them to get back to work 29% more quickly than would otherwise be expected and allowing their policyholders to consequently reduce the cost of work related absences.

Following their analysis, they have identified the five most common injuries that lead to absences from the work place. Without further ado, here’s the list, with the most common at the top:

  1. Lower Back

    This is the most common injury and can be caused by many different factors such as poor posture, degenerative changes and ineffective manual handling techniques. The back is complex and every joint needs to remain in an optimum position to work effectively. Sadly, modern lifestyle doesn’t help us maintain this delicate balance and this leads to muscles strains, ligament sprains and disc related issues.

  2. Shoulder Impingement or Tear

    The shoulder is formed through the interplay of many joints, ligaments and muscles leaving it vulnerable to many different problems. A fall can cause a full tear or change the mechanical structures leading to muscles and ligaments becoming pinched.

  3. Ankle Sprain

    A sprain of the ankle is a result of damage to the anterior talofibular and posterior talofibular ligaments on the outside of the foot. It is usually caused by misplacement of the foot on uneven ground, fall from height or high impact trauma causing the ankle to roll outwards. This places excessive force through the ligament leading to a tear.

  4. Wrist or Hand Fracture/Injury

    The wrist is made up of eight bones that allow the multitude of movements that we take for granted every day. When we fall we naturally try to use our hands to protect ourselves, which means our wrist takes the full force of the fall causing a fracture or injury. As most jobs require the dexterity of our hands, sufferers can require 4-6 weeks off work and possibly physiotherapy to be able to return to their workplace.

  5. Tear of the Meniscus

    Our meniscus work to protect our knees from unnecessary damage that would lead to arthritis by smoothing the motion of the knee. A tear is caused by a twisting or sudden stop leading to the femur grinding into the tibia. Unlike our muscles or ligaments the meniscus doesn`t have a very good blood supply, which means our body cannot repair the damage on it’s own. The ongoing pain means sufferers are unable to return to work and may need surgical intervention to repair the damage.

There you have it, the top five causes of misery and suffering in the workplace, apart from a grumpy boss of course! Keep your eyes on the health & safety issues facing your business, adopt careful risk management and with good planning and business management you will hopefully reduce, minimise or eradicate these types of incidents. Here’s to an accident free workplace!

[source: QBE Rehabilitation Blog authored by Chris Douglas and published on 26 Mar 2013]

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