Prevent 5 Common Workplace Injuries

Workplace Safety: How to Prevent 5 Common Workplace Injuries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015. While these numbers have dropped from previous years, safety in the workplace should still be top of mind for management, safety professionals and employees.

In order to prevent workplace accidents, we must educate employees on the most prevalent injuries and follow best practices to prevent safety hazards in the workplace. Here are the five most common workplace injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

  1.      Repetitive-Motion Injuries

Repetitive-motion injuries develop over time when an employee performs a similar motion, repeatedly. Repetitive-motion injuries can result in sprains, strains musculoskeletal injuries and overexertion injuries.

These types of injuries can occur in a variety of work settings. An office worker could experience back or wrist pain from typing on a keyboard, while a construction worker can sustain a repetitive-motion injury from on-the job movements like bending down and getting back up, lifting heavy materials and turning.

Injury Prevention Tips:

  •         Use proper lifting technique.
  •         Follow manufacturer’s instructions when operating equipment.
  •         Use ergonomic tools to reduce risk factors like repetitive motions, force and impact and awkward postures.
  •         Schedule and enforce breaks during the work day.
  1.      Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls can occur in many work environments and can result in a range of mild to serious injuries. Slips and trips are most commonly caused by uneven surfaces, wet floors, weather hazards, loose rugs or mats, poor lighting, exposed cords or cables and poor housekeeping. Slips and trips can result in strains, sprains and/or lacerations.

While falls can also occur as a result of these conditions, they can lead to more serious injuries when an employee falls from an elevated height like a stairway, ladder or roof. Falls can lead to sprains, fractures, concussions and head injuries, back and spinal cord injuries and shoulder injuries.

Injury-Prevention Tips:

  •         Clean spills immediately (use warning signs to identify affected area).
  •         Sweeping dirt, dust and debris from floors.
  •         Keep walkways free of clutter and obstacles.
  •         Secure loose carpets and rugs; cover exposed cables and cords.
  •         Ensure workplace is well lit; replace lights, lightbulbs and faulty switches.

How to Prevent Falls:

  •         Ensure employees receive fall-protection training.
  •         Secure ladders and install guard rails.
  •         Use protective clothing and personal fall arrest systems.
  •         Inspect equipment (proper lanyards and anchor points).
  1.      Vehicle Accidents

Employees who drive for work or operate company vehicles can be injured in minor to serious vehicle accidents. Vehicle accidents can lead to injury and in the worst cases they can even be fatal.

Tips to Reduce Vehicle Accidents:

  •         Stay up to date on vehicle maintenance.
  •         Provide employee safe-driver training.
  •         Practice safe-driving policies.
  •         Frequent vehicle inspections: before using a company vehicle, check break lights, turn signals and tire pressure.
  1.      Falling/Flying Object Injuries

Falling objects can lead to minor injuries like abrasions and cuts or serious injuries like concussions and penetration wounds. Falling object injuries are especially prevalent on construction sites and when employees operate under scaffolding. Employees are at a greater risk for flying object injuries when workers use power tools.

Injury-Prevention Tips:

  •         Secure all materials and tools to prevent sliding and falling.
  •         Wear hard hats safety glasses and goggles.
  •         Inspect lifting equipment like cranes and hoists prior to use.
  •         Ensure all employees are trained on tools and inspect tools prior to use.
  1.      Machine and Equipment Injuries

Depending on the type of work, employees use a variety of equipment and machinery. Workers can experience minor injuries like strains from office equipment to more serious injuries like entrapment and entanglement (caught fingers, limbs or clothing), impact (crushed by moving parts) or contact from sharp edges or hot surfaces.  

Injury-Prevention Tips:

  •         Ensure workers wear protective clothing and safety gear (hard hats and safety helmets, gloves, safety goggles, proper footwear, ear protectors); do not permit loose clothing or jewelry.
  •         Allow only properly-trained employees to operate machinery.
  •         Use safety guards on dangerous parts of equipment.
  •         Regular equipment maintenance and inspection. Ensure equipment meets safety standards and regulations.

Proper training and education are vital steps to prevent safety hazards and reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries and accidents. Contact us to learn more about workplace safety and injury prevention and treatment.

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