Teachers have a lot on their plate, especially at the beginning of the year when they’re busy getting their classrooms set up, welcoming new students, and running to and from meetings and the workroom. With so much going on, it’s understandable that teachers get physically hurt at work. Whether trying to help a student or just getting from one room to another, accidents are right around the corner at a lot of our nation’s schools.
Below are the five most common teacher workplace injuries in the United States right now.
1. Slip and fall accidents.
Because there are so many people in a school, including sometimes small children, there are more than enough opportunities to have something spilled on the floor. Add that to slippery tile, and it’s no wonder that slip and fall accidents are so common with teachers. As the weather gets cooler, parking lots and sidewalks also become icy, which can lead to other accidents. Although many times these falls don’t cause serious injury, sometimes they do, including broken bones and damage to the neck and back.
2. Toxic exposure.
Mold, including asbestos, inside schools, can be incredibly harmful to teachers, especially when they don’t know it’s happening. Other toxins, however, can be just as harmful and more difficult to identify (or prevent), including dirt, dust, and other fumes. Prolonged exposure to toxins can result in headaches, altered vision, and rashes. In severe cases, cancer can also be linked to toxic exposure, which is why it’s so important for teachers to get the help they need if this has happened at their workplace.
3. Repetitive strain injuries.
Teachers do a lot of the same workday after day, year after year, which can lead to uncomfortable repetitive strain injuries. The most common reasons for these types of injuries include typing, grading papers, prolonged standing, and sitting too long at a desk. Carpal tunnel is one of the most documented repetitive strain injuries within the teaching profession.
Especially when working with older students, teachers are at risk of being victims of violence while at work. From breaking up serious fights to being attacked in the classroom, the reality many teachers face each day at school needs to be recognized. The injuries that can result from such violence can range from minor to serious, and sometimes, and even fatal. Unfortunately, school crimes are underreported to police, states, and to the public. According to the National School Safety and Security Services, there are countless documented examples of serious school crime and serious incident underreporting, non-reporting, and delayed reporting across the United States.
5. Psychological injuries.
More difficult to pinpoint than other work injuries, teachers experience more and more trauma in the classroom. In addition to the stress, many teachers feel on and off throughout the school year, some teachers develop depression or anxiety including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their profession, needing to seek treatment in severe cases.
Of course, is just a list of the most common types of workplace injuries teachers face today. In reality, there is a lot that can happen while working at a school and with students, which is why it’s so important that teachers understand how to get the support they need if and when they become injured or hurt on the job.