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Straight, No Chaser: An Overview of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD January 21, 2020

workplace danger

Happy Labor Day. Many of us work in fields in which it is accurate to state “My job makes me sick!” Occupational illnesses and injuries take a massive toll on us. Whether we’re describing exposure to chemicals, workplace injuries, or workplace hazards and diseases, the number of cases of occupational injuries and illnesses has become so prevalent that occurrences are factored into job planning.

workplace_illness3 asbestos

Consider the following dreadful statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2012.

  • More than 4,383 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries. That is twelve deaths directly related to work every day in the U.S.
  • It is estimated that 49,000 deaths occur annually from work-related illness – 134 deaths per day.
  • It is estimated that 3.8 million U.S. workers had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness in 2012.
  • Approximately 3 millions emergency room visits occur annually from occupational injuries.
  • Approximately 150,000 hospitalizations occur annually from occupational injuries.

It should go without saying that there is a massive financial toll associated with this loss of life and function. The annual cost in the US for occupational injuries and illnesses is estimated at $192 billion dollars, inclusive of workers’ compensation and other insurance claims, medical expenses and other associated healthcare costs (e.g. physical and occupational therapy, home health, etc.), lost wages and productivity.

workplace illness

Additional Straight, No Chaser posts will focus on some of the more common and concerns aspects of occupational illnesses and injuries, including the following:

In the meantime, enjoy your holiday. I hope it’s a safe one.
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