10 Most Common Workplace Injuries in New Jersey

March 2, 2019 | Chris Costello, Esq.

In New Jersey, there were 147,022 job-related injuries reported in 2018. Even under the best conditions, employees face potential hazards in the workplace. Of course, workers are more likely to experience job-related injuries in certain occupations and industries. Jobsite hazards fall into two categories: fatal and nonfatal. Fatal conditions result in death. The nonfatal incidents aren’t life-threatening but may result in long-term disability. New Jersey’s most common workplace injuries are often covered by workers’ compensation.

1. Slip and Trip Injuries

It’s easy to slip or trip in a work environment. You may just be walking into the breakroom and slip on water that’s on the floor. You could be holding onto a handrail that breaks while going down the stairs. Perhaps you trip over debris that didn’t get cleared away after a storm. Slips and trips due to situations like these qualify for New Jersey workers’ compensation.

Here’s an interesting fact: even if an employee doesn’t fall after a slip or trip, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Often, the act of breaking a fall results in strains, muscle aches, and back problems. The business costs associated with slips and trips that don’t result in actual falls equal roughly $2.35 billion in disability claims.

2. Falling on the Job

Falls are among the leading causes of accidents at work. This occupational hazard normally takes place when laborers fall from scaffoldings, roofs or similar elevated construction locations. Malfunctioning equipment also contributes to falls.

3. Equipment Malfunction Injury

No matter how well-made a piece of equipment is, it’s not always perfect. Often, faulty machinery accounts for on-the-job injuries. In other cases, malfunctioning equipment isn’t a problem. A worker’s clothing or body part may get caught in the equipment, which results in serious injury.

4. Falling Object Injury

Unexpected danger can occur under any circumstance in a work environment. For instance, employees get struck by objects falling from high places, such as buildings, ladder, and shelves. This often results in serious injuries sustained to the head and back.

5. Musculoskeletal Skeletal Disorder Injury

Musculoskeletal disorders affect spinal discs, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and muscles. The main cause of MSDs is repetitive work activities, such as using a jackhammer, writing or typing. In New Jersey, 127,809 MSD cases were reported between 2002 and 2014. The following is a breakdown of the body parts that undergo injury:

  • 1 percent carpal tunnel
  • 26 percent upper extremities, shoulders, and neck
  • 46 percent back

These types of injuries result in many workers’ compensation claims. The total cost for U.S. businesses reaches nearly $2 billion a year in workers’ comp.

6. Burns and Electrocutions Injuries

Workers employed in settings where they come into contact with high-voltage lines or equipment have their own unique set of risks. They are prone to suffer from burns and electrocutions.

7. Overexertion

What’s interesting about this work-related injury is that it can occur when employees are engaged in safe activities, such as walking and standing. A physical problem arises when these activities take place over extended periods of time. The strain on the muscles and joints results in overexertion. Other contributing factors include throwing, carrying, pushing, pulling or lifting items at the workplace. The costs associated with these ailments surpass $15 billion a year for American businesses.

8. Vehicle Accident Injuries

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of job-related injuries. These issues are common among a variety of workers, such as truck drivers, cab drivers, forklift operators and crane operators. Employees get injured due to mechanical malfunction or transportation accidents.

9. Environmental Hazard Injuries

Workers employed on jobs where they’re surrounded by harsh chemicals are susceptible to injuries. Long-term exposure to toxic fumes and hazardous materials can lead to serious health issues affecting the following body systems:

  • Respiratory
  • Renal
  • Cardiovascular
  • Reproductive
  • Nervous
  • Immune
  • Skin
  • Hepatic

Contact with harsh chemicals can produce a variety of health effects. A few of these include chronic bronchitis, kidney tissue damage, heart failure, decreased coordination and rashes.

10. Workplace Violence Injuries

When you think of injuries on the job, workplace violence may not come to mind. Whether there’s a robbery, physical conflict with an irate customer or an altercation with a fellow coworker, employees suffer serious injuries. Despite a company’s best effort to maintain employee well-being, security and safety, these types of incidents do occur.

Workplace violence has a significant impact on workers and employers. There are approximately 2 million employees affected by violent acts at work. On average, 700 of these acts a year result in murder. Additionally, employers handle the costs for situations, such as

  • Counseling
  • Lawsuits
  • Insurance
  • Crisis and reputation management
  • Funerals

These expenses can add up. It’s not unusual for costs to range from thousands to billions of dollars.

Most Dangerous Workplaces

Job-related injuries occur across every occupation and industry. However, there’s no denying that accidents are more likely to incur in certain work settings. The areas with the highest rates of nonfatal workplace injuries include material-moving occupations as well as transportation and service-providing sectors. The most hazard-prone job environments include the following:

  • Medical facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Factories
  • Warehouses
  • Construction sites

The incidents employees encounter are usually associated with falls, electricity and heavy equipment. The body parts that are injured at work the most are the hands and back. Workers often experience tears, strains and sprains in those regions.

Keep in mind, every injury is not the result of accidents at work. Many job-related injuries occur when performing routine tasks. These duties are normally repetitive and take place on a daily basis, such as engaging in intensive computer work. Even constant exposure to loud noises can cause physical harm.

Get the Benefits You Deserve

Have you or someone you know been hurt on the job? If so, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. NJ worker’s compensation is no-fault insurance. This means employees don’t have to prove misconduct or negligence, which makes it easier for injured employees to receive financial compensation due to work-related injuries.

Despite the best efforts to promote on-the-job safety, employees do suffer physical harm. Fortunately, workers’ comp helps take care of related expenses for the employees. In 2014, New Jersey workers received $2,269,156,000 in workers’ compensation. Contact us today. Let us help you recover the maximum amount on your claim.

Chris Costello, ESQ.

Chris Costello, ESQ.

Chris handles matters in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is an active member of the New Jersey Association for Justice as well as the Burlington County Bar Association. As a Burlington County personal injury lawyer, Mr. Costello has served as chairman of the Burlington County Bar Association Personal Injury Committee and lectured on topics related to auto accidents and insurance law.

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