Occupational Illnesses and Injuries You Need To Watch Out For


In today’s fast-paced world, working hard can be tantamount to working until your health drops. Many people tend to overlook their health while in the middle of building their career. Remember that your overall health status is also important in ensuring your productivity and contributing to your career-building.


Falling ill at work is a common occurrence in today’s workplace. In 2016 alone, the number of non-fatal illnesses and injuries in private industries reached 2.9 million. This number has already seen a decline of more than 48,000 cases from the previous year. Approximately 890,000 of the 8.9 million cases of injuries and illnesses resulted in several days away from work. On the other hand, a 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that among contracted workers, construction laborers sustained the highest number of fatal occupational injuries.


Not taking necessary measures to ensure your overall wellbeing can be detrimental not only to your health but also to your career. In 2016, the common causes of injuries at work include:

  • Falls, trips, and slips
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments
  • Fires and explosions
  • Violence and animal-related injuries


These causes lead to the following common occupational injuries and illnesses you need to watch out for.

1. Sprains, strains, and tears

In 2016, approximately 28.2 out of 10,000 workers suffered from sprains, strains, and tears while doing their job. These injuries comprised 30% of cases that resulted in absences from work in 2016.


Sprain injuries occur when you do a certain movement that twisted your joints, stretching or tearing your ligaments in the process. The ligaments in your ankles and wrists commonly suffer from sprain injuries. The signs and symptoms of a sprain include swelling, limited movement of the affected joint, pain, and bruising. If the sprain is severe, you might even notice a popping sound.


A strain injury affects the muscles and tendons. It happens when your muscles or tendons are stretched beyond their threshold resulting in muscle and tendon tear. The signs and symptoms of strain include swelling and bruising, pain that worsens upon movement, and weakness of the affected body part. In worse cases, you might be unable to use your muscle.


Overexertion when at work can also lead to these injuries. Industries that require lifting and moving can compromise the workers’ back muscles, resulting in back injuries, which tend to take time to heal completely.

2. Cuts, lacerations, and punctures

These injuries contributed to 13% of the DAWF (days away from work) cases in 2016. Cuts and lacerations were more common compared to puncture injuries.


Cuts or laceration injuries are usually caused by sharp objects making contact and breaking the integrity of your skin. The amount of bleeding depends on the severity of the injury. For immediate management of open wound injuries in the workplace, immediately clean the area with running water if the site of injury is unclean. Then, apply direct pressure on the injury through a clean towel or a piece of cloth to stop the bleeding.

3. Soreness and pain

General job-related soreness and pain was suffered by 12 out of 10,000 workers in 2016. Labor workers in warehouse and transportation industries were the most at risk of suffering from these symptoms.


Office workers were also at risk of body soreness, especially those with little physical activity. Sitting for long hours, especially without proper posture, can make you at risk of low back pain, tailbone pain, and shoulder pain.


You might also develop wrist tendonitis, an inflammation of your wrist tendons caused by repetitive strain, if your daily activities include frequent, repetitive wrist movement such as typing jobs, doing certain sports, and playing musical instruments. Wearing wrist braces can help reduce the pain in your affected wrist, allowing you to do your job.

4. Fractures

Fracture injuries typically need weeks to months for you to get full recovery. Mining and construction industry workers had the highest risk of suffering from fractures. If you see a deformity or an extremity bent at an awkward angle and you suspect a fracture, make sure that you don’t move the affected bone without applying a splint first. Moving it without proper immobilization can make the fracture worse, which is equivalent to longer days of recuperation. Fracture of the thigh bones and hip bones bleed the worst. Make sure that you call for medical help immediately during such circumstances.


Accidents can happen anywhere at anytime. Sometimes, they happen despite any amount of training and safety considerations. Likewise, diseases can break-out when you least expect it. But some illnesses and injuries can also happen when you wear your body down with constant physical tension and stress. Do not forget to take your health into consideration. Wear safety gears as a precaution. Lifestyle tips such as eating a healthy diet and doing exercises might sound so simple but can go a long way in improving your health.



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