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Common causes of workplace injury

Pennsylvania workplaces are fraught with the potential for serious injury, with specific causes more common in certain industries. Two of the leading causes of injury in almost every profession are stress and fatigue. Tired or stressed workers are more prone to suffering from impaired judgement and thus making mistakes that could result in serious injury.

Other causes of injury are related to cluttered, slippery or otherwise unsafe working areas. Poor lighting or improperly stored objects can cause workers to trip and seriously hurt themselves. Slipping is also a risk wherever floors are damp or liquids may be spilled, though wearing anti-slip footwear can help minimize this hazard. Collisions can also be a risk factor when drawers are left open or employees open doors too quickly. Objects that are stacked too high or improperly stored can also topple, causing serious injury to workers standing nearby.

Hairdressers and typists are particularly prone to injury due to repetitive stress, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers whose jobs involve lifting objects can also hurt themselves if they attempt to lift objects too heavy for them unaided, or if they do not follow ergonomic guidelines for safe lifting. Hazardous materials can cause some of the worst injuries, particularly if individuals working with them do not wear the proper personal protective equipment. Violence is an often-overlooked cause of injury in the workplace, as well, and is best minimized by strict security measures.

Anyone who has been injured on the job might wish to consider filing a workers' compensation claim. Benefits can include payment for medical care as well a percentage of pay lost when the claimant was unable to work as a result of the injury.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries", Christina Hamlett, December 17, 2014

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