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That’s a massive number, and unfortunate new data was just released showing some of the serious and sometimes deadly repercussions of workplace injuries.
A new study conducted by Boston University and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found women with injuries that led to at least a week off work were 92% more likely to die from suicide than other women in the workforce.
They were 193% more likely to die from causes related to drugs than other working women.
The results of the study show when you’re a woman, and you suffer a serious injury at work, it nearly triples your risk of dying from a drug overdose or by suicide.
For men who sustain a serious injury at work, the risk of death by suicide and overdose combined is 50% higher than it is among their non-injured counterparts in the workforce. Men were 72% more likely to die from suicide when they had lost time from work because of an injury, and 29% more likely to die from causes related to drug use.
The researchers leading the study looked at data from more than 100,800 workers in New Mexico. Of those, more than 36,000 had lost work time after they were injured at work between 1994 and 2000.
Researchers then reviewed workers’ compensation from that time, Social Security Administration earnings, and mortality data through 2013. They also reviewed the National Death Index cause of death data through 2017.
For men and women who needed at least a week off work following an injury, they were 20% more likely to die from any cause, and men had higher death rates from cardiovascular disease than people not injured at work.
Senior study author Leslie Boden, who is a Boston University professor of environmental health notes that other research shows injured workers are at an increased risk of depression, and often suffer from long-term loss of earnings.
People injured at work are also more likely to receive treatment with opioid pain medications, which are addictive and often deadly.
Boden points out the importance of looking at different methods of treating pain, better treatment for substance use disorder, and improvements in depression following an injury to improve quality of life and reduce mortality.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a list of the most common safety violations seen in the workplace each year. They encourage employers to review the list and make the necessary changes to protect employees and their business. The top 10 list compiled by OSHA for the fiscal year 2018 includes:
The most common injuries that lead to workers taking time off include strains, sprains and tears, pain, and cuts, lacerations or punctures.
The reasons for workplace injuries include overexertion like lifting or lowering, being hit by an object or piece of equipment, and slips, trips and falls.
The occupations with the largest numbers of injuries include service occupations like firefighters and police, jobs in transportation and shipping, and production and manufacturing. Maintenance, repair, and construction-related jobs also see high injury numbers.
Every seven seconds someone is injured on the job, and that means there are 88,500 such injuries each week.
If you’re injured at work, you should first let your supervisor know right away. You will need to keep all documentation to receive workers’ compensation. You should let your supervisor know in writing about your injury if you can, even if you also do it verbally.
There may be a statute of limitations depending on your state, so do this right away so you don’t miss a filing deadline and you ensure you protect your legal rights.
If you need it, seek medical care immediately as well.
Keep records of your visits with your doctor.
You might also consider speaking with a lawyer experienced in areas relating to injuries at work.