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Elson: 7 of the Wackiest Workplace Injuries

By Matthew Elson

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | 0

Workers injured by picking up a bag of french fries, hitting a bowling ball with a sledgehammer and getting a snack out of a vending machine are just three of the wackiest workplace injuries.

Matthew Elson

Matthew Elson

While most of us think of the workplace as a hub to network, host meetings and build our careers, there are hundreds of thousands of accidents — many of them serious — in workplaces every year. The International Labor Organization reports that every year, 2.3 million men and women experience accidents while working.

The majority of workplace injuries are slips, trips or falls; handling, lifting or carrying items; or being struck by moving objects. But there are many unexpected injuries, such as getting hit by lightning or falling overboard. Here is Evotix's list of seven downright peculiar workplace injuries:

Lighting strikes indoors

With the chance of being struck by lightning about 1 in 300,000, the odds are marginal. Yet Robert Jones, a PE teacher at Walker Elementary School in Northport, Alabama, was struck when he was sitting inside (he survived).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one-third of lightning-strike injuries actually occur indoors. For the best protection during a storm, make sure you have some distance from big windows.

Saving the french fries

When a small bag of fries slipped from a manager's hands at a McDonald's, she impulsively bent over quickly to catch it before it hit the floor. In doing so, she hurt her neck and filed a claim against the fast-food giant. 

Despite this seeming like an accident unrelated to any breach of safety procedures, she was awarded benefits because of the nature of the incident and because she had to quickly serve customers who were waiting in the drive-thru line.

Would you have saved the fries?

Bowling ball target practice

What co-workers get up to in the workplace can be bizarre. This is a cautionary tale of what could happen when a sledgehammer and a bowling ball meet on a construction site.

Some workers attempted to kill time while waiting for a truckload of asphalt. A worker was challenged to see if he could break apart a bowling ball found in the parking lot. Before doing so, he was warned by his foreman to "knock it off" or "stop."

He continued, and pieces of the bowling ball shattered, causing him to lose an eye. The court decided against his claim due to positive-work environment violations.

Falling overboard

Have you ever fallen into freezing cold water? Well, an unlucky news reporter did — on national television. As she went to interview someone on a boat, she slipped backward and fell into the water. She was fine, but the segment was broadcast across the Netherlands before going viral on social media (see the clip here).

Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, so it's important to have proper procedures and safety measures in place.

The vending machine

We've all experienced the frustration of having a snack stuck in the vending machine after slotting our coins into it. When one employee was seeking help from a co-worker to retrieve his pack of chips, the worker fractured his own hip.

If there's one lesson here, it's that when it comes to man versus vending machine, the vending machine usually wins. If you're having trouble retrieving your items, contact the maintenance team.

Video camera super-glued to face

In retail stores, there are countless accidents at work. One of our favorites concerns a worker at an electrical store in the U.K. who managed to super-glue a video camera to his eye.

Some children came into the store and broke a video camera, so the employee was instructed to glue the lens back on. Testing the camera, he realized it was glued to his eye.

At the hospital, he was told to stop filming. He had to admit that he wasn't recording; he just had the camera glued to his eye. 

Feeding a bear while under the influence

If feeding bears is your job, it's probably not a good idea to get high before work. An American working in a bear enclosure did just that and ended up getting bitten on his backside.

The man admitted he smoked a joint before feeding the animals at Great Bear Adventures, a privately run park where black bears and grizzlies roam outdoors. While the man was in the bear enclosure, a grizzly named Red attacked and severely injured him.

The court agreed that his decision to smoke weed was mind-boggling and stupid, but also awarded him compensation to cover his medical expenses.

Matthew Elson is CEO at Evotix. This blog post is reprinted by permission from InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com.


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