Work related injuries and car accidents often result in short or long term personal trauma being sustained. The impact and required time for recovery varies, with some people still able to perform current, modified, or alternative duties in a full or limited capacity. Other individuals are no longer able to work until they have a complete recovery. For some, this can even mean a required change in their work capacity for the rest of their life.
The time for a person to heal, to be functional, and to be able to work varies considerably. In some instances full recovery can be two to six weeks, but for other injuries the recovery can be longer and may cause be a permanent life-changing disability.
8 common workplace injuries
Workplace injuries occur for a myriad of reasons, including unforeseen small accidents, limb overuse through repetitive work, or lifting or moving objects beyond the body’s capacity, to name just a few.
When the muscles, ligaments or tendons throughout the body are damaged, a soft tissue injury (STI) has occurred. This can occur from a one off blow to a part of the body, or from overuse of the particular part of the body. The majority of these take four to six weeks to heal. However, in some instances the recovery can be longer and will require an ongoing management and treatment plan.
A review of common workplace injuries and their expected healing time to recovery is listed below.
- Hand & wrist – Common workplace injuries to the hand and wrist include sprains, lacerations of tendons, carpal tunnel syndrome, bruises, tendonitis, fractures, and ganglion. Expected healing times vary from two to 12 weeks. Individuals are still likely to be able to perform tasks using the uninjured limb.
- Elbow – Injuries to the elbow commonly include medial or lateral epicondylitis, sprains and strains, bruises, fractures, or lacerations involving the skin. Expected healing times vary from two to 12 weeks. Individuals are still likely to be able to perform tasks using the uninjured limb.
- Shoulder – Common injuries to the shoulder include sprains and strains, rotator cuff tendinopathy, impingement syndrome, dislocation, and bruises or contusions are the most common shoulder injuries. Expected healing times vary from two to 12 weeks. Individuals are still likely to be able to perform tasks using the uninjured limb.
- Neck/cervical spine – The most common injuries to the spine and neck are sprains and strains, including whiplash and cervical nerve root lesions. These lesions can be treated either conservatively or surgically. Expected healing time varies significant by injury severity and treatment modality, and can be anywhere from four weeks to two years.
- Low back – Injuries to the lower back include benign low back pain, sciatica, facet joint pain, bruises, and fractures. While the majority take two to six weeks to heal, sciatica may take anywhere up to two years before regular workplace duties can be resumed in some professions.
- Hip – Sprains or strains and bruises are the most common injuries that workers sustain to their hips. Expected time to heal is two to six weeks, barring excessive complications.
- Knee – Sprains or strains, bruises, cartilage injury treated surgically and lacerations are common injuries sustained by knees. Expected healing time is two to six weeks.
- Ankle and foot – Common injuries to the ankle and foot include sprains or strains, bruises, fractures, and plantar fasciitis. Expected healing times are from mere days to up to 12 weeks.
- Specific individual injury – Hernia: Expected healing time is up to six weeks.
Common car accident injuries while working
Car accidents usually occur from being rear-ended, hit side-on, head-on, or from being run off the road. The injuries sustained by the driver or passengers varies depending on the cause, speed, and whether or not the driver and passengers were wearing a seatbelt.
Common car accident injuries include the following:
- Brain and head injuries – A closed head injury is one of the most common injuries for both passengers and driver. This can be mild, moderate or severe, and occurs from either the head being hit or from hitting an object suddenly and forcefully. Bruising, bleeding or swelling of the brain and a fractured skull may result.
- Neck injuries – Neck injuries commonly include everything from whiplash and neck strain to serious disc injuries. The expected healing time for these injuries can be anything from days to up to ten years.
- Back injuries – There are multiple back injuries that can be sustained in a car accident. From strain, fracture, disc injury, thoracic spine injury and lumbar radiculopathy to lumbar spine injury, none of these injuries will have a quick fix.
- Face injuries – Bruising, lacerations, fractures or serious dental injuries can be sustained in a vehicular accident, particularly if the driver/passenger is not wearing a seatbelt. It is also common for these injuries to be sustained by the deployment of the airbag.
- Internal injuries – Fractured ribs often occur in a car accident, and can cause a punctured lung or damage to other internal organs. Any of the bowels, kidneys, the spleen, liver, lungs, heart or aorta may sustain injuries during a car accident.
- Psychological injuries – Shock and post traumatic stress disorder may occur for someone in a serious car accident or when there has been loss of life.
There are a multitude of injuries that can interrupt a person’s life, especially when they have been caused by work-related injuries. The impact is significant, and recovery periods can span anywhere from a few days to years or even decades of a person’s life.
While most workers are able to resume their role and duties as before, for some there will be a permanent change in work duties as a result of the injury and impairment.