If you or someone you know works in the transportation, trade or utilities industries, then you already know that workplace injuries aren't all too uncommon despite the minimal amount of manual labor in some positions.
In 2017, over 45,000 trade, transportation or utilities workplace injuries were reported in the state of Pennsylvania - including 2,957 right here in Allegheny County. This was also the highest injury total among the top municipal industry sectors in Pittsburgh. The industries span from grocery stores to lumber yards, courier services to water supply systems, bus drivers to pilots and everything in between. In the United States, 25.6 million workers fall under the trade, transportation and utilities umbrella.
Retail Trade: 14.9 million
Wholesale Trade: 5.6 million
Transportation: 4.4 million
Utilities: 0.6 million
Last year, the three most frequent types of injury seen in the trade, transportation and utilities industries were:
Sprains and strains: 41 percent (18,660 cases)
Contusion, crushing, bruising: 20 percent (9,022 cases)
Cuts, lacerations, punctures: 15 percent (7,000 cases)
Other fast facts from the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation and Workplace Injury 2017 Annual Report include:
Body part affected most often: Upper extremities: 16,251 injuries, 36.1 percent
Most frequent cause of injury: Overexertion: 13,944 injuries, 31.0 percent
Median age of injured workers: 42.0
Injury Prevention Against the Big Three
Now that you're informed about common industry injuries, it's important to take the necessary precautions in order to protect yourself from sprains and strains, contusion/crushing/bruising, or cuts/lacerations and punctures. The high rate of injury speaks for itself.
Sprains and Strains: The best way to prevent sprains and strains is by coming to work prepared. Being in the best physical shape possible will naturally prevent sprains and strains, but in reality, not everyone is in tip-top condition. If you've aggravated a specific area of your body, try stretching before you come into work. For example, if you work in a lumber yard and are regularly tasked with lifting heavy pieces of wood, find a stretching routine that loosens up your back. Or, wear a protective brace to provide increased support to the ailing ligament. A serious injury may require rehab in order to ensure it doesn't turn into a recurring problem.
Contusions, Crushing and Bruising: Aside from practicing workplace safety, there isn't a whole lot you can do to prevent contusions, cutting and bruising. However, proper treatment after the injury occurs is vital to prevent it from seriously impacting your work. A bruise serious enough to cause consistent pain should be iced for at least a week. Contusions, which occur when a part of the body receives a direct blow of blunt force from an object, can cause swelling and pain and limit the range of motion. For treatment, start with seeing a medical professional, and then use rest, ice, compression and elevation to help heal the injury.
Cuts and Lacerations: These three injuries commonly occur when workers are dealing with sharp objects. While cuts are usually a clean puncture of the skin, lacerations and punctures have more of a jagged edge. If you're handling knives or other sharp objects, make sure to always cut away from your body in addition to using gloves and cutting boards. Once you notice a cut, immediately apply Neosporin or other antibiotical disinfectant cream and cover with a bandage to prevent infection.
Let Dugan & Associates Help You!
If you or someone you love has significantly injured themselves in the trade, transportation or utilities services industries, the team at Dugan & Associates is ready to look at your case. Our team of experienced workplace injury lawyers will make sure you receive the maximum monetary compensation available to you. Give us a call at 412-353-3572 or contact us online today for your free consultation.