According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 117 out of every 10,000 full time workers in 2011 suffered an injury or an illness that caused them to miss at least some time from work. These types of injuries and illnesses are referred to as those requiring "days away from work."
Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that any time an employee misses work, productivity is lost. When workers have missed several days of work, then the employee will also be provided with lost wages benefits through workers' compensation. Unfortunately, the money paid out for a days-away-from work claim does not generally provide a worker with 100 percent of his salary for time off. Thus, both employers and workers suffer when a worker is injured and has to miss work as a result, especially if the injury that the worker endured caused serious or permanent damage.
Who Is Most Likely to Miss Work?
In their report on injuries and illnesses requiring missed work in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that workers in just five occupations accounted for almost 20 percent of all illnesses that necessitated time off of work. These five occupations included:
- Janitors and cleaners
- Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor trailers
- Police officers and sheriff's patrol police officers
Those working in these occupations had an incident rate of injuries that was around five times greater than the 117/10,000 rate applicable to all workers.
Those most likely to be injured and to miss work also included older workers. For example, workers between the ages of 45 and 54 had the highest proportion of illnesses and injuries leading to time off.
Keeping Workers Safe is Better for Everyone
When looking at the list of jobs that cause the most injuries leading to missed work, it is easy to see what they have in common. All of the jobs required physical work, and all involve potentially dangerous work where the employee could put a strain on his or her body or go into a situation where violence or accidents is likely.
While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, employers within these industries should be aware of the fact that the injury rate is significantly higher within the field. Awareness of the problem is the first step to finding solutions that could hopefully help make these professions safer for the workers.
For example, having clear safety policies and procedures in place; providing proper training; offering sufficient breaks; and rotating workers to avoid repetitive stress on the body could potentially help to reduce the number of serious illnesses or injuries that cause missed work days.
While these professions are singled out as among the worst, it is also important to remember that injuries can happen in any industry. All employers need to put safety first so their own workers don't end up suffering injuries that require a long (and expensive) recovery period.