New Study: What Influences the Risk of Workplace Injuries?

Who doesn’t want higher pay or more flexible hours at their job? While most Americans likely dream of a pay raise or more vacation time, a recent study from the University of Washington shows that things like higher pay, flexible hours, and growth opportunities aren’t just important for morale. They can also decrease the risk of workplace injuries.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Workplace injuries are a big issue in the United States. In fact, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds, according to the National Safety Council, and 4,600,000 are injured every year. This not only leads to thousands of missed days of production, but also to lost wages and high medical bills. Through accidents at work, employees may suffer from injuries like:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Back pain
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Breathing problems
  • Repetitive motion injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome

Work-related injuries can occur at any time of job. However, people in certain jobs do see a higher risk of injury. This includes construction workers, electricians, roofers, and police officers and other first responders.

That said, the study from the University of Washington shows that certain factors play into an employee’s risk of injury, regardless of their job. It found that an employee’s attitude toward their job, based on factors like pay and flexibility, played a role in their injury risk.

How Job Happiness Affects Injury Risk

The study broke workers down into three main groups:

  • “Dead end” workers, which the study says includes assembly line workers, janitors, and retail workers. These are people who may feel like they do not have many growth opportunities or empowerment within their workplace. Along with a higher risk of mental health issues due to their workplace attitude, people with “dead-end” jobs were also found to have a higher risk of physical injury.
  • “Inflexible skilled” workers, including doctors and military personnel, are workers who perform high-quality work but often face long, inflexible hours. This category also includes self-employed people, like freelances or Uber drivers. People in the “inflexible skilled” category also have a higher risk of injury than people with regular work hours. Like people in “dead-end” jobs, they also tend to have more mental health issues.
  • “Optimistic precarious” workers had the best job health of the three categories. These are people who may have low pay or inflexible hours, but still feel a sense of control and fulfillment. Of the three groups in the study, they had the lowest on-the-job injury risk, and were overall happier.

Overall, the takeaway of this study is that factors like pay, growth, and hours may impact an employee’s happiness and injury risk. It may just be one study, but it does draw attention to the idea that a happy, safe workplace is better for everyone. No matter what kind of job you have, whether you work long hours in retail or work in a busy hospital, it is important to always speak up about any safety and health issues that you have while on the job.

Injured at Work?

If you have been injured while working, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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