What is injury; Classification & types of injuries

What is Injury?

Injury, also known as physical trauma, represents damage to the body caused by external force; it is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more. It can range from Physical, Mental, and Psychological.

In the U.S., millions of people injure themselves every year. These injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Injuries can happen at work or play, indoors or outdoors, driving a car, or walking across the street.

In 2013, 4.8 million people world-wide died from injuries, up from 4.3 million in 1990. More than 30% of these deaths were transport-related injuries. In 2013, 367,000 children under the age of five died from injuries, down from 766,000 in 1990. Injuries are the cause of 9% of all deaths, and are the sixth-leading cause of death in the world.

Read Also: Work related injury – Examples

Classification of injury

The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the International Classification of External Causes of Injury (ICECI). Under this system, injuries are classified by:

  • Mechanism of injury;
  • Objects/substances producing injury;
  • Place of occurrence;
  • Activity when injured;
  • The role of human intent;

These codes allow the identification of distributions of injuries in specific populations and case identification for more detailed research on causes and preventive efforts.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics developed the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS). Under this system injuries are classified by:

  • Nature,
  • Part of body affected,
  • Source and secondary source, and
  • Event or exposure.

The OIICS was first published in 1992 and has been updated several times since.

Read Also: Ergonomic injury – Examples, Risk factors & Prevention

The Orchard Sports Injury and Illness Classification System (OSIICS), previously OSICS, is used to classify injuries to enable research into specific sports injuries.

Common types of injuries include:

  • Animal bites
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Dislocations
  • Electrical injuries
  • Fractures (Broken bones)
  • Sprains and strains

Common symptoms of injury

Injury symptoms include:

  • Abrasions (scrapes)
  • Bleeding or uncontrolled or heavy bleeding, hemorrhage
  • Bone deformity or other type of deformity
  • Burns, which may redden skin, cause blistering, or have a leathery white appearance
  • Joint swelling
  • Lacerations (cuts)
  • Pain
  • Reduced mobility (range of motion of the joint)
  • Tissue swelling with or without discoloration

Read Also: What is an occupational injury

Causes of injury

The numerous causes of injury include:

  • Acts of violence by others
  • Bicycle or motor vehicle accidents
  • Bite or sting injuries
  • Burns (thermal, chemical or electrical)
  • Drowning
  • Falls, impacts
  • Overuse and repetitive motion injuries
  • Poisonings and chemical exposures
  • Sports or athletic injuries

What are the risk factors for injury?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing injury. Risk factors include:

  • Age (injuries are a common cause of death in those 44 and younger, and older people are at greater risk of sustaining injuries from falling)
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Alcohol and illicit drug use
  • Bone or joint disorders
  • Certain medications that depress the central nervous system or reduce blood pressure
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Decreased sensation
  • Distraction, inattention
  • Dementia and other conditions that affect mental function
  • Failure to use automotive seatbelts
  • Gait disturbances
  • Hearing problems
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor vision
  • Reduced mobility
  • Refusal to wear recommended protective equipment and headgear
  • Weakness

How to reducing your risk of injury

Here are methods you can use:

  • Engaging in regular physical activity to enhance general good health
  • Installing handrails and grab bars
  • Obeying speed limits and using crosswalks
  • Optimizing lighting in and around your home
  • Putting children in car seats and booster seats
  • Reducing clutter and other tripping hazards in your home or office
  • Using nonslip mats or strips in the bathtub and shower
  • Wearing a helmet when riding bicycles, scooters or motorcycles
  • Wearing a seatbelt when driving
  • Wearing appropriate safety equipment during sports or other potentially risky activities
  • Wearing safety equipment, such as goggles, aprons and gloves, when working with hazardous substances or in dangerous areas


By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

2 thoughts on “What is injury; Classification & types of injuries”
  1. I agree that optimized lighting could indeed be a very useful way to prevent injuries. I’ve been thinking about starting a business with my best friend soon but we would also need a few helpers to hire to start with. Perhaps that’s a good reason to consider having a work injury prevention program.

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