Workplace injuries are more common than we’d like to believe. In 2020, 117 Ohio workers were killed on the job and another 101,000 were injured or suffered occupational illnesses serious enough that the incident required reporting. That’s about 2.4 incidents per 100 full-time or full-time equivalent workers.
44,700 injuries required days away from work, and another 14,000 required a job transfer or restrictions on work duties.
Of course, not all Ohio jobs are equally dangerous.
Fatal Work Injuries in Ohio
Most of the workplace fatalities in Ohio occur in a handful of industries. Production, transportation, and material moving occupations accounted for 43 deaths, or about 42.5% of fatal work injuries. Nearly half of those injuries involved transportation incidents.
Other industries with a significant number of fatal workplace injuries included:
- Installation, maintenance, and repair
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
- Transportation and warehousing
- Administrative and waste services
While the professions listed above probably don’t come as a surprise, fatal injuries can occur in any sector. For example, in 2020, eight Ohio sales and office employees died as a result of workplace injuries or toxic exposures. So did six retail workers.
Government jobs accounted for just 7.6% of workplace fatalities in Ohio in 2020, though about 14.5% of the state’s workforce is employed by governmental entities.
How Do Workplace Fatalities Happen?
Across the 117 workplace deaths in 2020, 41 involved transportation incidents. Other causes included:
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Harmful exposures
- Violence (including injuries inflicted by both humans and animals)
Non-Fatal Occupational Illnesses and Injuries
Certain industries account for a large number of injuries and a large percentage of total workplace injuries in Ohio. These include:
- Manufacturing: 16,600 total injuries in 2020
- Nursing and residential care facilities: 14,600 total injuries
- Hospitals: 10,200 total injuries
- Retail trade: 10,000 total injuries
The raw numbers don’t necessarily indicate just how dangerous a profession or industry is, though. In some cases, the larger numbers are partly attributable to a larger industry with more employees. In other cases, a general category has a lot of injuries, but the chances of being injured vary greatly from one sector of the industry to another.
For example, manufacturing is a bit more dangerous than the average Ohio job.
The overall injury rate is 2.4 per 100 full-time or full-time equivalent workers, and the rate in the manufacturing industry is 3.5 per 100. But, within the manufacturing industry, some niches have much higher incidence rates. Forging and stamping has a 5.0 per 100 rate of injuries, and manufacturing of agricultural, construction and mining machinery a 4.8 per 100 rate. Meanwhile, sectors like paper manufacturing and computer and electronics manufacturing have injury rates that are a fraction of the average.
Private industry health care and social assistance has a rate of 5.4 per 100 workers–more than double the average. But, that rate is disproportionately attributable to nursing homes and residential care facilities, where the rate is 12.4 per 100 workers. And, that rate is even higher in state-run nursing homes and residential care facilities, where the injury rate is 19.7 per 100 workers–more than eight times the rate for all state employees.
The seriousness of the injuries also varies by sector. For instance, about 25% of injuries sustained in private sector hospitals required days away from work. But, nearly 77% of reported injuries in private sector nursing homes and residential care facilities resulted in lost work days.
Protecting Against Workplace Injuries
Some Ohio jobs are riskier than others. How dangerous a job is depends in part on the industry and the niche within the industry. But, those aren’t the only variables. Many factors that determine how safe or dangerous your workplace is depend on the employer, your co-workers, and even you.
Workplace injuries happen in many different ways, but some of the most common include:
- Falls, on the same level or from an upper level
- Sprains and strains, including repetitive stress injuries
- Vehicle-related injuries
- Getting caught between objects, or between parts of a machine
Most of these injuries can be prevented with precautions such as:
- Using proper safety gear at work
- Keeping floors clean and clear of clutter
- Ensuring that steps up and down, forklift operation areas, and other hazards are clearly marked
- Following safe protocols for lifting, operating machinery, and other functions
An expert tip from Doug Mann
Of course, fully implementing these safety measures requires the cooperation of your employer. Ideally, your company will provide safety training, create a safe set-up for the workspace, implement guidelines to keep the workplace running safely, provide protective gear and equipment, and ensure that all machinery is in safe working order.
Many of these safety measures–and others–are mandated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ohio law also requires employers to maintain a safe workplace. If your employer fails or refuses to maintain a safe working environment, you may be able to report safety violations.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job in Ohio
If you’ve already suffered a workplace injury in Ohio, your next step should be to determine how to secure the compensation you need to cover medical and living expenses as you recover. In most situations, an injury sustained at work will be covered by Ohio workers’ compensation benefits. With a few exceptions, workers’ compensation covers injuries that occur in the course of employment regardless of who is at fault. That’s good for the injured worker, because it means you don’t have to prove that the employer was negligent to qualify for benefits.
There’s a downside, too: in most cases, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy in Ohio. That means you generally can’t sue your employer for a workplace injury, even if the employer was negligent. Since workers’ compensation benefits are more limited than damages in a personal injury case, your recovery may be limited.
There are some exceptions, though, so it’s important to talk with an experienced Ohio work injury lawyer. For example;
- If the injury resulted from a safety violation in the workplace, you may be entitled to increased workers’ compensation benefits
- If the employer has committed one of a handful of intentional acts, such as removing a safety guard from a piece of machinery, you may be able to sue for intentional tort
- If a third party is responsible, you may be able to file a separate claim, such as a product liability claim against the manufacturer of a piece of safety equipment that failed.
The experienced work injury attorneys at Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schulz offer free consultations to people who have been injured at work in Ohio. The sooner you understand your rights and options, the better. Contact us right now to get started. Just call 937-222-2222 or fill out the contact form on this site.