Over the past few months, our team at the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone has explored the most common workplace injuries in the most injury prone professions. We’ve covered the top injuries on construction sites, in restaurants, and even in healthcare professions. Now, we turn to workplace injuries that are frequent in manufacturing and product development.
As a whole, the United States, including New Jersey, is moving away from labor-intensive manufacturing environments. It is not only more cost-efficient to use machines for much of the work, but also safer. Truly, these trends in manufacturing plants and facilities have significantly decreased the overall number of workplace injuries in manufacturing, and more specifically cut the number of serious injuries and fatalities.
Yet, employees in manufacturing facilities, product development site, and test facilities are injured on a regular basis in New Jersey. We explore what type of manufacturing presents the greatest likelihood of injury and what workplace injuries a manufacturing employee should be cognizant to avoid.
Different Manufacturing, Different Number of Injuries
Not all manufacturing facilities present the same type or degree of risk for a workplace injury. The U.S. Department of Labor tracks each and every injury that is filed as a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. As part of this process, a division of the Department of Labor, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), collects and catalogs information about the severity of the injury, how it occurred, and what work environment the employee was in.
From these annual statistics, we know that not all manufacturing environments have the same number of workplace injuries. OSHA breaks down these statistics into granular types of manufacturing, for example, food manufacturing is one type and animal food manufacturing another.
However, from this detailed level of categorization, we know that ice manufacturing is substantially more prone to workplace injuries than apparel manufacturing. Further, that footwear manufacturing has a relatively high number of workplace accidents and injuries reported each year, while paper manufacturing has roughly one-third in a given year.
Common Injuries Across All Manufacturing
Despite the disparity in the number of workplace injuries each manufacturing type experiences, the common types of injuries are substantially similar. The most recent data reports indicate that 19% of all manufacturing injuries were the result of a slip or fall. These accidents could result from a wet or slick floor, a cord or other obstruction in a walkway, uneven stairs or floorboards, or mere clumsiness on the part of an employee. It is important to remember with manufacturing injuries that under New Jersey law, even those accidents directly caused by the negligence or mistakes of an employee are still covered by workers’ compensation.
The second most common type of injury in manufacturing is contact with an object, equipment, or machinery. These injuries are caused by malfunctioning equipment, misuse of machinery, or defective parts. In many instances, these are the workplace accidents that lead to serious injury for an employee. Contact with equipment or machinery is the leading cause of loss of limb,
Finally, a large number of workplace injuries to manufacturing employees are caused by overexertion. The work in a manufacturing can be physically demanding, for example, lifting materials, moving completed parts, and operating heavy machinery. Depending on the type of product, the temperature and other conditions of the facility may be less than ideal.
While companies take a number of steps to keep their employees safe in these conditions, there are still instances of overheating, dehydration, and overworking. All safety concerns when it comes to the possibility of a workplace injury.
What to Do if Injured at Work in Manufacturing?
If you work in a manufacturing facility or other manufacturing environments, you might be aware of the biggest risks and hazards in your profession. Perhaps, slippery floors are a major concern onsite, or it could be the use of heavy machinery requires certain skill and training. The best way to stay safe is to participate in extensive training and ask questions of management when you are uncertain of the appropriate actions or conditions.
However, even with extensive safety precautions, certain manufacturing injuries will occur in New Jersey. These injuries could prevent you from working for a week, month, or much longer, and workers’ compensation is your avenue to benefits and recovery of lost costs from any workplace injury.
To learn more about workers’ compensation in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone. Our team in Southern New Jersey is ready to answer questions about manufacturing injuries, nursing injuries, construction injuries and more. Call 856-234-4023 for more information.