Safety at work is not yet a universal norm. Workplaces continue to advance safety measures, but some select industries still stand out as the most dangerous potential work environments. Depending on your work environment, you may be at greater risk for workplace injury than those in another industry.
Employees experience work-related injuries and occupational diseases in any number of job fields, but certain jobs carry a higher risk to workers’ health. The top two most dangerous industries for worker health are the logging industry and the fishing industry according to data collected by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In Pennsylvania, the three industries with the most reported injured employees are:
- Educational & health services
- Trade, transportation & utilities
The most frequent cause of injury for all three of these industries is overexertion, defined by the state’s department of labor and industry as exertion to the point of exhaustion or overstrain usually due to working a physically-draining job for an extended period of time.
Overexertion is a somewhat broad term and therefore readily includes a wide variety of injuries under one definition. An activity that causes overexertion in one person may not do so for another person. Thus, the term usually encompasses those who repeatedly perform the same or similar physically-demanding tasks to the point of crossing the body’s tolerance level.
The most common injuries a worker can sustain across all industries include falls, slips, trips, overexertion and injuries from falling or otherwise loose debris. For Pennsylvania workers, the most frequent injury is a sprain or strain followed by contusion, bruising and lacerations.
Can workers avoid these injuries?
Of course, not every worker will experience an injury in the same industry or even the same job. With millions of Pennsylvanians working, just under 160,000 work injuries and illnesses went reported in 2016. The impact may appear small in comparison to the overall employed population, but for those affected, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact.
Workplace safety standards still have a long way to go to protect every worker in every industry. Those who experience injuries and illnesses deserve to be appropriately cared for and compensated, no matter how few or many they may be.