4 Top Causes of Workplace Illness and Injury


What makes sense to spend the most time educating your employees on, speaking in terms of health at your workplace?

You should start with the top problem and work your way down to the smallest. That way, you get the biggest value immediately.

What could be the biggest cause of workplace illness at your company? Consider some of the top ones we’ve found below:

  1. Stress

One, perhaps a little extreme, article proclaims stress as the “Black Death of the 21st Century.” It may not be that extreme. But, there’s no doubt stress is a leading cause of a number of health problems, both physical and psychological.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says it’s now the leading cause of workplace absences. Short periods of stress are okay and don’t result in serious consequences, says the report. But prolonged stress can be lethal.

If there’s one way to prevent dozens of diseases and illnesses, it’s to keep your office’s stress as low as possible.

  1. Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

With so many jobs today requiring sitting at a computer for extended hours, MSDs are now a leading cause of workplace absenteeism. To top it off, employees also often don’t use good posture. That leads to lots of back problems over the years.

Some companies use standing desks to alleviate this problem. Others promote regular breaks and exercise to help with it. You’ll have to experiment and see what works for your company.

  1. Occupational Asthma

This condition refers to two things:

  • Employees with asthma worsened by workplace conditions
  • Exposure to an allergen leading to the cause of asthma

In particular, manufactured chemicals known as “respiratory sensitizers” are known to cause asthma. Dozens of substances like hardwood dust, cobalt, nickel, platinum, zinc, and formaldehyde can cause asthma.

These can also lead to cancer and death. A safety program and regular training can help avoid these more serious health risks.

  1. Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs)

These injuries come again as a result of the technological era we live in. ULDs refer to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. Neck pain and a variety of aches, pains, stiffness, tingling, numbness, and cramps also define ULDs.

Posture, force, and the duration of the force all affect whether a ULD forms. Ergonomic devices, breaks, employee education, and reasonable production goals can help alleviate these injuries.

So in 2016, those are the injuries and illnesses that cause the most employee absences. What can your company do to help prevent them?