Top 10 Most Common Workplace Injuries in Hawaii

Glenn Honda | | Personal Injury
Top 10 Most Common Workplace Injuries in Hawaii

Are you aware of the top 10 most common workplace injuries in Hawaii? Workplace safety is critical, and understanding the risks is essential for employers and employees.

Based on the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations statistics, the major industry sectors facing these challenges are Construction, Leisure and Hospitality, and Education and Health Services. In the construction sector, injuries surged significantly by 72.7%. Leisure and Hospitality experienced a 2.5% increase, reaching 2,030 injuries. Education and Health Services saw a 15.6% rise, from 770 to 890 incidents.

This article will provide insights into the most common types of work injuries and safety measures for keeping yourself safe. We also learn how a workers’ compensation lawyer in Hawaii can assist you in the legal process for work-related injuries.

What Are the 10 Most Common Types of Work Injuries?

1. Slip and Fall

Slip and fall incidents are common workplace injuries in various industries and settings. These accidents can lead to significant injuries and impact the employee and the employer. Here are some key points to consider regarding slip and fall workplace injuries:


  • Wet or slippery floors: Spills, leaks, or inadequate cleaning can create slippery surfaces.
  • Uneven surfaces: Damaged flooring, uneven walkways, or poorly maintained areas can contribute to falls.
  • Inadequate lighting: Poorly lit areas increase the risk of tripping and falling.
  • Improper footwear: Inappropriate footwear or shoes in poor condition can contribute to slips.

Common Injuries

  • Sprains and strains: Twisting or awkward falls can injure muscles and ligaments.
  • Fractures: Falls can lead to fractures or broken bones, particularly wrists, arms, and hips.
  • Head injuries: Severe falls may cause concussions or other head injuries.
  • Back injuries: Landing on the back can cause spinal injuries.
  • Bruises and abrasions: Minor injuries can still cause discomfort and affect productivity.

2. Struck by Moving Object

Being struck by a moving object is a common cause of workplace injuries across various industries. This type of incident can lead to a range of injuries, some of which can be severe. Here are some common causes and injuries associated with being struck by a moving object in the workplace:


  • Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Failure to use appropriate PPE, such as helmets, safety glasses, or gloves, can increase the risk of injuries.
  • Unsafe Work Practices: Not following proper safety procedures or engaging in unsafe work practices can result in accidents involving moving objects.
  • Inadequate Training: Lack of training on handling equipment or machinery can contribute to accidents involving moving objects.
  • Poor Visibility: Inadequate lighting or obstructions in the work area can lead to collisions with moving objects.
  • Lack of Warning Systems: The absence of warning signs, alarms, or signals can increase the likelihood of being struck by a moving object.
  • Equipment Malfunction: Malfunctioning machinery or equipment can unexpectedly lead to accidents involving moving objects.

Common Injuries

  • Head Injuries: Striking the head with a moving object can result in concussions, skull fractures, or traumatic brain injuries.
  • Eye Injuries: Flying objects or projectiles can cause eye injuries, ranging from minor abrasions to more severe damage, including blindness.
  • Fractures: The impact of a moving object can lead to bone fractures in various parts of the body.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: The impact force can cause bruises, contusions, and injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Crush Injuries: Being caught between a moving object and a stationary one can cause crush injuries, potentially resulting in severe damage to limbs or other body parts.
  • Internal Injuries: The force of impact may cause internal injuries, such as damage to organs or internal bleeding.
  • Amputations: In some cases, being struck by a moving object can lead to traumatic amputations of fingers, hands, or other body parts.

3. Lifting, Carrying, and Handling Objects

injuries while Lifting Carrying and Handling ObjectsUnfortunately, workplace injuries related to lifting, carrying, and handling objects are common across various industries. Here are some causes and common injuries associated with these activities:


  • Poor Lifting Technique: Incorrect lifting techniques, such as bending at the waist instead of the knees, can strain muscles and cause injury.
  • Overexertion: Trying to lift objects that are too heavy or lifting objects repeatedly without adequate rest can lead to muscle strains and other injuries.
  • Lack of Training: Employees may not have received proper training on how to lift and carry objects safely.
  • Inadequate Equipment: The absence of appropriate tools or equipment to assist with lifting and carrying heavy objects can increase the risk of injury.
  • Unorganized Workspaces: Cluttered or congested work areas may make it difficult to maneuver objects safely, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Fatigue: Working long hours or performing physically demanding tasks without sufficient rest can decrease focus and increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Environmental Factors: Slippery or uneven surfaces, extreme temperatures, or poor lighting can all contribute to accidents when handling objects.

Common Injuries

  • Strains and Sprains: Overexertion or improper lifting technique can lead to strains and sprains in muscles, ligaments, and tendons, particularly in the back, shoulders, and knees.
  • Back Injuries: Lifting heavy objects improperly can cause back injuries such as herniated discs, muscle spasms, and lower back strain.
  • Fractures: Dropping heavy objects or trapping body parts between objects can result in fractures or broken bones.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: When handling sharp or rough objects, abrasions, contusions, and lacerations can occur.
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs): Performing repetitive tasks, such as lifting and carrying objects, without proper rest and ergonomics can lead to RSIs like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: Carrying or lifting objects in crowded or cluttered areas increases the risk of slipping, tripping, or falling, potentially causing injuries ranging from minor bruises to serious fractures.

4. Overexertion

Overexertion occurs when employees are pushed beyond their physical limits, leading to strain, fatigue, and potential injuries. This type of injury can result from various factors and affect different body parts. Here are some common causes and injuries associated with workplace overexertion:


  • Lifting Heavy Objects: Using incorrect lifting techniques, such as bending at the waist instead of the knees, can lead to overexertion.
  • Repetitive Motion: Repeatedly performing the same motion, such as typing or using a mouse for extended periods, can lead to overexertion injuries.
  • Awkward Postures: Working in uncomfortable or awkward positions for an extended time can strain muscles and joints.
  • Manual Labor: Jobs that require intense physical labor without sufficient breaks or task rotation can lead to overexertion.
  • Inadequate Training: Employees not trained on proper task techniques may be more prone to overexertion injuries.
  • Insufficient Rest and Recovery: Extended working hours without adequate breaks and rest can contribute to fatigue and overexertion.

Injuries Resulting from Overexertion

  • Muscle Strains: Overexertion can lead to strained muscles, causing pain, inflammation, and limited range of motion.
  • Sprains: Overstretching or tearing of ligaments due to excessive force or repetitive motion can result in sprains.
  • Tendonitis: Inflammation of tendons, often caused by repetitive motion or overuse of a particular muscle group.
  • Back Injuries: Lifting heavy objects with improper technique or prolonged periods of sitting in awkward positions can contribute to back injuries, including herniated discs.
  • Fatigue-Related Issues: Overexertion can lead to general fatigue, which may contribute to other workplace accidents and errors.
  • Joint Problems: Continuous stress on joints can lead to conditions like bursitis or arthritis.
  • Heat-Related Illness: Overexertion in hot environments without proper hydration and rest can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

5. Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs)

Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs), also known as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are a category of injuries that result from the repetitive and prolonged use of muscles, tendons, and nerves. These injuries can occur in various workplace settings where employees engage in repetitive tasks or maintain awkward positions for extended periods. Common causes of RMIs include:


  • Repetitive Tasks: Repeatedly performing the same motion or task, such as typing, clicking a mouse, assembly line work, or using tools, can strain the muscles and tendons, leading to injuries.
  • Forceful Exertions: Applying excessive force during repetitive tasks can contribute to RMIs. This force can result from heavy lifting, forceful typing, or using tools requiring significant strength.
  • Awkward Postures: Maintaining awkward or uncomfortable positions for extended periods can increase the risk of RMIs. This can include tasks requiring bending, twisting, or reaching long durations.
  • Poor Ergonomics: Inadequate workplace design and ergonomics can contribute to RMIs. Improperly designed workstations, chairs, keyboards, and other tools can lead to awkward postures and increased strain on muscles and joints.

Common Injuries

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS): A condition affecting the hand and wrist, often caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. It is common among individuals who perform repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing.
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of tendons, which are the tissues that connect muscles to bones. Tendinitis can occur in various body parts, including the elbow, shoulder, or knee, and is often associated with repetitive movements.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion joints. Bursitis can occur in joints subjected to repetitive motions or prolonged pressure.
  • Epicondylitis: Inflammation of the tendons attached to the outer or inner elbow, commonly known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, respectively.

6. Electrocution

Electrocution in the workplace refers to the severe injury or death caused by electric shock. This can occur when a person comes into contact with electrical sources such as exposed wiring, faulty equipment, or live electrical circuits. Here are some common causes and potential injuries associated with workplace electrocution:


  • Faulty Equipment: Damaged or frayed power cords, plugs, or equipment can expose workers to electrical hazards.
  • Unsafe Work Practices: Ignoring safety protocols, such as working on live electrical circuits without proper precautions, can increase the risk of electrocution.
  • Inadequate Training: Lack of training on electrical safety and proper use of equipment can contribute to accidents.
  • Wet or Damp Conditions: Working with electrical equipment in wet environments increases the likelihood of electrical shocks.
  • Overhead Power Lines: Accidental contact with overhead power lines, especially in construction and maintenance work, poses a significant risk.
  • Faulty Wiring: Poorly installed or maintained electrical systems, including wiring and outlets, can lead to electrical malfunctions.
  • Improper Grounding: Lack of proper grounding can accumulate electrical charge on equipment or surfaces.
  • Defective Tools and Equipment: Using tools or equipment with electrical defects increases the risk of electrical accidents.

Common Injuries

  • Burns: Electrical burns are common injuries caused by an electrical current passing through the body. Depending on the voltage and duration of exposure, these burns can range from mild to severe.
  • Cardiac Arrest: High-voltage shocks can disrupt the heart’s rhythm, leading to cardiac arrest.
  • Muscle and Tissue Damage: Electric shocks can cause damage to muscles and other tissues, leading to pain, swelling, and long-term complications.
  • Nervous System Damage: Electric shocks may affect the nervous system, leading to neurological issues such as numbness, tingling, or paralysis.
  • Respiratory Failure: Severe electrical shocks can impact the respiratory system, potentially leading to respiratory failure.
  • Internal Organ Damage: Electric current passing through the body can damage internal organs, including the kidneys and liver.

7. Exposure to harmful substances

Exposure to harmful substances in the workplace can lead to various injuries and health problems. These exposures can occur in different industries and job settings, and the causes may vary. Here are some common causes and potential injuries associated with exposure to harmful substances:


  • Lack of Training: Inadequate training on handling and working with hazardous substances can lead to accidental exposures.
  • Inadequate Protective Measures: Failure to use or provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, or protective clothing, can increase the risk of exposure.
  • Poor Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation systems may accumulate harmful fumes or gases in the workplace, leading to exposure.
  • Spills and Leaks: Accidental spills or leaks of hazardous substances can occur during storage, handling, or transportation, leading to exposure.
  • Improper Storage: Storing chemicals improperly can increase the risk of leaks, spills, or reactions that may result in exposure.
  • Inadequate Labeling: Labeling containers may lead to clarity and handling of substances, increasing the risk of exposure.

Common Injuries

  • Chemical Burns: Direct contact with corrosive or irritating substances can cause burns to the skin and eyes.
  • Respiratory Issues: Inhaling toxic fumes or dust particles can lead to respiratory problems, such as irritation, asthma, or other lung disorders.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may develop allergic reactions upon exposure to certain substances, leading to skin rashes, hives, or other symptoms.
  • Cancer: Prolonged exposure to certain carcinogenic substances may increase the risk of developing cancer over time.
  • Neurological Damage: Exposure to neurotoxic substances can result in damage to the nervous system, leading to neurological disorders.
  • Reproductive Issues: Some hazardous substances can cause reproductive problems, such as infertility or birth defects.
  • Organ Damage: Exposure to certain chemicals may cause damage to internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, or heart.
  • Long-term Health Effects: Chronic exposure to harmful substances may lead to long-term health issues, including respiratory diseases, organ failure, or systemic disorders.

8. Falls from heights

Falls from heights are a significant cause of workplace injuries and fatalities across various industries. These incidents can result from a combination of factors, and the injuries sustained can vary in severity.


  • Lack of Fall Protection: Failure to use or inadequate fall protection equipment, such as safety harnesses, guardrails, or safety nets.
  • Unprotected Edges and Openings: There are no guardrails or barriers around the edges of platforms, roofs, or other elevated work areas.
  • Unsafe Ladders and Scaffolds: Use damaged or improperly maintained ladders and scaffolds.
  • Slippery or Uneven Surfaces: Wet or slippery surfaces, especially when working on rooftops, scaffolding, or elevated platforms.
  • Poor Housekeeping: Cluttered work areas with tools, materials, or debris on elevated surfaces.
  • Inadequate Warning Systems: Lack of proper signage and warning systems to alert workers of potential fall hazards.
  • Adverse Weather Conditions: Working at heights during adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, rain, or snow.

Common Injuries

  • Traumatic Injuries: Fractures, including broken bones in the arms and legs.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Falls from significant heights can result in severe spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or long-term disabilities.
  • Internal Injuries: Injuries to internal organs due to the impact of the fall.
  • Fatalities: Falls from great heights can lead to fatal injuries, especially if proper safety measures are not in place.

9. Falling objects

Falling objects in the workplace can pose a significant risk to workers and result in various injuries. The causes of falling objects and possible injuries can vary depending on the work environment, but some common factors include:


  • Unstable Stacking: Improperly stacked materials or items on shelves can prevent objects from falling when disturbed or when the stack becomes unbalanced.
  • Inadequate Storage: Poorly organized storage areas, lack of proper shelving, or overcrowded storage spaces can contribute to objects falling.
  • Faulty Equipment: Malfunctioning equipment, such as cranes, hoists, or lifting devices, can cause objects to drop.
  • Unsafe Work Practices: Workers who follow proper safety procedures, such as not securing tools or materials properly, can prevent objects from falling.
  • Overhead Work: Work being performed above ground level, such as construction or maintenance activities, may involve tools or materials accidentally falling.

Common Injuries

  • Head Injuries: Falling objects can cause any type of traumatic brain injury, including concussions, skull fractures, and brain injuries.
  • Back and Spinal Injuries: Heavy or awkwardly shaped objects that fall onto a person can cause back and spinal injuries.
  • Broken Bones: Falling objects can result in fractures or breaks to various bones in the body, depending on the impact and location.
  • Cuts and Abrasions: Sharp or pointed objects can cause cuts and abrasions, which can lead to bleeding and potential infection.
  • Crush Injuries: Objects falling from heights can cause crush injuries, especially if they are large or heavy, potentially resulting in internal injuries.
  • Strains and Sprains: Workers attempting to avoid falling objects may experience strains and sprains, particularly in the muscles and joints.

10. Workplace violence

Workplace violence is a serious issue that can lead to physical injuries for employees. It can take various forms, including physical violence, verbal abuse, intimidation, and harassment. The causes of workplace violence are complex and can vary depending on the specific situation, but some common factors include:


  • Stress and Job Pressure: High levels of stress and pressure at work can contribute to tensions among employees, increasing the likelihood of conflicts escalating into violence.
  • Poor Communication: Ineffective communication within the workplace, whether between employees or management and staff, can lead to misunderstandings and disputes.
  • Unresolved Conflicts: Lingering conflicts that are not addressed or resolved can escalate, leading to confrontations and potentially violent incidents.
  • Organizational Culture: A toxic or aggressive organizational culture can foster an environment where violence is more likely to occur.
  • Workplace Bullying: Bullying and harassment can create a hostile work environment and contribute to workplace violence.
  • Job Insecurity: Fear of job loss or insecurity can cause heightened stress and tension, potentially leading to violent outbursts.
  • Personal Issues: Employees bringing personal problems or conflicts into the workplace may create a hostile atmosphere.

Common Injuries

  • Physical Injuries: These can range from minor bruises and cuts to more severe injuries like broken bones, concussions, or even fatalities.

What are the Industries with the Most Job-Related Injuries?

The industries with the highest rates of job-related injuries often involve physically demanding work, exposure to hazardous materials, or other risk factors. Here are some sectors that have historically had higher rates of job-related injuries:

  • Construction Industry: Construction sites involve heavy machinery, elevated work, and various physical tasks, making them susceptible to injuries such as falls, electrical shocks, and being struck by objects.
  • Manufacturing Industry: Factory and manufacturing settings often have machinery, chemicals, and repetitive tasks that can lead to injuries, including cuts, fractures, and exposure to harmful substances.
  • Agricultural Industry: Farming and agricultural work involve manual labor, heavy machinery, and exposure to unpredictable elements. Injuries can result from machinery accidents, falls, and exposure to pesticides.
  • Mining Industry: The mining industry involves working in challenging environments with heavy equipment, explosives, and exposure to dust and toxins, leading to a higher risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Transportation Industry: Jobs in the transportation industry, especially trucking and delivery services, can be hazardous due to long hours, fatigue, and the risk of accidents on the road.
  • Healthcare Industry: Healthcare workers, including nurses and aides, face risks such as lifting patients, exposure to infectious diseases, and workplace violence.
  • Logging and Forestry: Working in forests and logging operations involves operating heavy machinery, handling chainsaws, and exposure to falling trees, which can result in serious injuries.
  • Waste Management: Workers in waste management, including sanitation and recycling, may face physical strain, exposure to hazardous materials, and the risk of accidents during collection and processing.
  • Oil and Gas Extraction: Workers in the oil and gas industry often deal with heavy machinery, flammable materials, and high-pressure environments, leading to a higher risk of injuries.
  • Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas): Employees in the utilities sector may encounter electrical hazards, exposure to toxic substances, and the risk of accidents while maintaining infrastructure.

Why Should You Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Hawaii After Sustaining a Work-Related Injury?

Consulting a workers’ compensation attorney in Hawaii after sustaining workplace injuries is crucial for several reasons. Here’s why seeking legal counsel is essential:

Navigating Workers’ Compensation Laws in Hawaii

Understanding Hawaii’s workers’ compensation laws can be complicated. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you comprehend the intricacies of the regulations governing workplace injuries in the state. They will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Maximizing Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A workers’ compensation attorney can assess the extent of your injuries and calculate the appropriate compensation you deserve. They can help maximize your workers’ compensation benefits, ensuring you receive adequate coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other related costs.

Addressing Lost Wages

Worker’s compensation provides financial support for lost wages due to work-related injuries or illnesses. An experienced worker’s compensation attorney ensures you receive the maximum benefits you’re entitled to under the law, easing the financial burden during recovery.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, as they often aim to minimize payouts. A workers’ compensation attorney can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and you are not unfairly denied the benefits you deserve.

Appealing Denied Claims

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you appeal the decision. They will navigate the legal process, presenting a solid case to prove the legitimacy of your claim and secure the benefits you are entitled to.

Workplace Safety in Hawaii: Your Allies in Recovery and Legal Support For Work-related Injuries

Making workplaces safe is essential for everyone in Hawaii. Knowing the risks, whether slips, falls, or more severe accidents, is critical to preventing them. The team at Recovery Law Center is here for you. We’re not just lawyers; we’re your allies in recovery, ready to support you beyond legal matters. Facing the challenges of workplace injuries requires a careful approach, and we’re skilled at navigating Hawaii’s legal system.

Don’t let it overwhelm you if you’ve been hurt at work. Schedule a consultation with us. We’ll discuss your case, explore your options, and guide you on the journey to recovery. Your well-being is our top priority, and we’re committed to helping you through every step.


Glenn T. Honda

For over 29 years, attorney Glenn Honda has helped people injured in accidents throughout Hawaii get the best outcome for their case, whether it’s maximizing their settlement, or balancing costs and risks vs. putting the whole experience behind them. As the founding attorney of the Recovery Law Center, he is passionate about helping his clients with their physical, emotional and financial recovery. Mr. Honda will fight to get you coverage for your medical bills, lost wages, damaged property and other costs related to your accident.

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