Occupational Diseases and Work Injuries
Posted in Workplace Accidents on May 16, 2022
In the United States, occupational diseases and work injuries are common. Each year, millions of workers are injured at work, leading to lost wages and the need for medical care and rehabilitation.
Injured and sick employees can pursue workers’ compensation claims, but securing benefits can be a complicated process. To file a successful claim, the worker would need to prove that the injury or illness happened because of his or her job.
Illness and Injury Statistics for U.S. Workers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data on occupational injuries and diseases each year. According to its 2020 report, private employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses across the United States.
- Of these illnesses and injuries, 1,176,340 cases led to a private industry worker missing at least one day of work in 2020.
- Private industry workers took a median of 12 days away from work due to workplace injuries and illnesses. This is an increase from 8 days in 2019.
- The following occupations had the highest percentage of workers who needed to take time off due to a work-related illness or injury: nursing assistants; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; registered nurses; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; and laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand.
Common Types of Work Injuries
In some workplaces, employees encounter dangerous conditions that lead to serious injuries. Broken bones, burns, amputated or mangled limbs, spinal cord damage, and even traumatic brain injuries may occur.
These injuries can be caused by negligence, product defects, workplace violence, and a disregard for safety conditions. However, some employees are simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The following are some of the most common occupational accidents that can lead to injuries.
- Slip and falls
- Overexertion injuries
- Fires and explosions
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Falling debris or objects
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Falls from high places
- Lifting heavy objects
Common Types of Occupational Illnesses
Occupational illnesses usually develop over time. In some cases, repetitive motions lead to long-term damage. Musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis are especially common. If a worker is exposed to loud noises or other dangerous conditions, hearing loss can also occur.
In other cases, employees encounter a dangerous substance, product, or chemical on the job and are continually exposed at work, leading to negative health effects. Asbestos, lead, pesticides, and black dust in coal mines are some examples of materials that often lead to occupational illnesses.
These substances can cause the following medical conditions.
- Nervous system damage
- Parkinson’s disease
- Gastrointestinal illnesses
- Respiratory illnesses
What to Do If You Are Hurt at Work in Missouri
In Missouri, employers with at least five employees—or construction employers with at least one employee—must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you develop an occupational injury or illness, you have the right to pursue a claim and recover benefits to pay for medical care, short-term wage replacement, and disability benefits.
While this coverage is available regardless of fault, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be a challenge. Your claim may be denied for several reasons, usually because the insurance provider believes that the injury or illness is not related to work.
It is important to discuss your case with a workplace injury attorney who can fight for your right to benefits. As soon as possible following your injury, speak to a Kansas City personal injury lawyer about your next steps.