It does not matter what type of career you have – every worker is at risk of becoming injured or ill while on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance, mandatory for most employers here in Pennsylvania, is designed to protect employees by providing some support during their recovery.
Which types of injuries and incidents most frequently lead to a workers’ comp claim? The most recent workers’ compensation report from the state’s Department of Labor and Industry provides some of the answers. Here are three key findings from the report.
The most common type of injury
While some people think of workers’ compensation as something for catastrophic incidents, many claims are for less serious – though still disruptive – injuries. In 2018, sprains and strains accounted for 37.3% of workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania, the highest figure by far.
Three other injury types were clustered together:
- Contusion, crushing, bruise – 19.5%
- Other – 16.5%
- Cut, laceration, puncture – 16%
No other injury type came in above 4%.
Where on the body injuries occur
The report also tracked the part of the body affected in each claim. Injuries to the upper extremities –that’s the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands or fingers – made up 38% of claims. Lower extremities were next on the list, with injuries to the hips, legs, knees, ankles, feet and toes accounting for 22.3%.
Trunk injuries (17.5%) and head injuries (12%) also made up a notable portion of claims.
The leading cause of injuries
More than a quarter of all workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania in 2018 were attributed to overexertion – lifting, pulling, pushing and other similar maneuvers. Not far behind? Being struck by an object, which can include items falling or flying through the air. Those claims made up 21.1% of cases.
Three other causes came in at 10% or higher:
- Being struck against something – 11.1%
- A bodily reaction – 10%
- A fall on the same level (not from a higher level) – 10%
None of this is to downplay the severity of those catastrophic injuries that occur less frequently. Rather, these figures serve as a good reminder that a workplace injury is a workplace injury. Even if your injury does not seem serious compared to other possibilities, you may still be eligible for wage loss benefits and coverage for related medical treatment through workers’ compensation.