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What Are the Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries?

Posted on January 13, 2023 in

Workers throughout Arizona face many potential health and safety threats in the average workday. While some industries and workplaces are more dangerous than others, all have the potential of causing serious worker injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers in Arizona reported 59,800 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses and 97 fatalities in 2020. Recognizing the most common causes of workplace injuries can help prevent these disasters.


Overexertion has been the top cause of worker injuries in the U.S. for several years. It was responsible for 21.7 percent of occupational injuries involving days away from work in 2020, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Overexertion refers to a worker pushing himself or herself too hard physically, resulting in injuries, inflammation, pain or discomfort to various parts of the body. 

Overexertion can occur when a worker is holding, carrying, lifting, throwing, or pushing and pulling items. It can also result from repetitive motions. Overexertion can cause soft-tissue or musculoskeletal injuries, such as damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, joint dislocations, inflamed connective tissues and back strains. These injuries can cause chronic pain, stiffness, immobility, numbness and long-term effects.

Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents  

Slip or trip and fall accidents at work injured 21.7 per 10,000 workers in 2020, according to the NSC. It was recorded as the second greatest cause of occupational injuries in 2020 (when COVID-19 is not factored in). Falls can occur on the same level or to a lower level. The group most at risk of fall accidents is workers ages 55 and older. The industries that most often report slip and falls are transportation, warehousing and agriculture. The most commonly reported types of injuries caused are sprains, strains and tears. A Phoenix slip and fall attorney can help you evaluate the dynamics of your unique case if you suffer such an injury.

Contact With Objects and Equipment

A worker being struck by an object or coming into contact with a piece of equipment or machinery is the third most common cause of worker injuries. This was listed as the cause of 196,140 worker injuries in 2020. These accidents can occur when a piece of equipment does not have the proper machine guard, resulting in a worker’s body being pulled into the machine. Other examples include falling objects or building materials striking a worker, a worker getting caught in between two pieces of equipment, or a worker getting caught in collapsing material.

Transportation Accidents

Transportation accidents, including workplace motor vehicle accidents, caused 41,010 worker injuries in 2020. These accidents may involve work automobiles, trucks, cargo vehicles, vans, utility vehicles or construction equipment. Transportation incidents can injure not only the worker but other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well. They may involve collisions with other vehicles, collisions with fixed objects or rollover accidents.

Violence by Persons or Animals

The NSC reported violence as the fifth leading cause of worker injuries that required days off of work, responsible for 39,310 injuries in 2020. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also reported that 761 workplace fatalities were caused by intentional injury by another person in 2019. Violence can refer to wrongful acts committed by a coworker or stranger, such as shootings and stabbings in the workplace. It also describes violence by animals, such as dog attacks and other dangerous animals present at a jobsite. 

Injured at Work? Know Your Rights

If you get injured under any circumstances at work in Arizona, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits. These are no-fault financial benefits that do not require you to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injury. If you believe that negligence did cause your injury, such as the fault of your employer or a coworker, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit instead. Consult with an attorney for more information about a workplace injury case before accepting an insurance settlement.