According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2018. Though it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment, the truth is that random incidents can happen to anyone at any time. Some of these incidents might have more or less serious consequences for both the injured party and the company. With that being said, it’s important that employees are cautious and responsible while at work.
The workplace contains many safety hazards which can potentially cause accidental injuries to employees. These are some of the most common types of injuries that employees can suffer in work environments.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Employees may slip on a wet or slippery surface, causing them to land on another person, object, or the floor. They can also stumble and trip over inappropriately placed objects in a corridor or walking surface. Ladders, improper footwear, stairways or roofs are typical risk factors for falls in the workplace.
As a result of any of these incidents, workers can break bones, sprain their wrists, hit their heads, twist their ankles or suffer other painful injuries. In order to prevent these from happening, managers must make sure all floors, carpeting, and mats are even. It is also important to ensure that cables are covered, employees are provided with proper footwear and protection gear when needed, and that safety measures are taken to ensure there are no obstacles in place while working.
Machine entanglement is a workplace injury that can occur in factories, construction sites or farms where heavy equipment and machinery are used. Clothing, shoes, hair, and fingers can easily get caught in everyday equipment if no precaution is taken. If body parts get caught or struck by exposed moving parts or flying objects from machines without protective guards, the injuries can be disastrous: crushed arms and hands, severed fingers, blindness or worse. These incidents can be easily avoided if employees are properly trained, have protective gear, and are attentive while operating machinery.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion workplace injuries may be less obvious to the naked eye, but they are definitely harmful and painful in the long run. Everyday actions such as typing or clicking with the mouse can strain tendons and muscles causing wrist pain, backache, or carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries can be severe enough to inhibit simple activities with debilitating and crippling pain; so much so that they can even permanently impair a worker’s ability to perform his or her job.
These work injuries can be prevented with proper ergonomic equipment and by allowing employees to take short breaks and rests from their tasks.
Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in car accidents and some of those accidents can be fatal. They can also be run over, crushed by, or get stuck under an overturned vehicle on their way to the office.
In order to prevent them, it is important that companies insist on good driving policies and employees are well trained.
Overexertion workplace injuries are injuries caused by heavy lifting, carrying heavy loads, pulling and pushing heavy objects, etc. These injuries contribute to productivity loss and millions of dollars being spent on health benefit payout costs.
Fire and Explosions
Faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials, open flames, explosions, and fires can cause serious workplace injuries. These injuries can include damage to the respiratory system, varying degrees of burns and even potential disfigurement.
Injuries in the workplace caused by explosions and fires are quite common and they account for 3% of all injuries. In order to prevent them, OSHA has established a number of hazard communication standards that companies who use chemicals and flammable materials or explosives need to comply with. In addition, they recommend that material safety data sheets are kept on hand for all chemicals and that employees are required to wear protective gear at all times.
Preventing Injuries In the Workplace
Diligence, proper equipment, and training are the most effective and efficient ways that companies can protect their employees and prevent injuries from occurring. But it’s not enough. Safety needs to be considered in a holistic way; employees need to have access to protective gear and receive adequate training just as the organization needs to comply with environmental and federal regulations as well. So when necessary, identify and be aware of hazardous practices, equipment or infrastructure. Replace and fix where possible and train employees about workplace safety.
In order to succeed in this holistic consideration of workplace safety, both employees and managers need to be engaged and mutually collaborating in ensuring that any safety programs implemented are maintained and improved properly. It’s equally important that your workplace and business operations are analyzed in detail. Managers need to review company equipment regularly, talk to employees about their safety concerns and analyze any potential risk that comes with adding new equipment or tasks.
What To Do When A Workplace Accident Occurs
No matter how many workplace safety programs you implement or how well trained your employees are, workplace accidents resulting in injury can occur. Apart from calling for medical assistance immediately and receiving the medical care you require, victims should also call a workplace injury attorney. A lawyer with a solid background in workplace injury accidents will ensure that you, as a victim, receive the medical and legal compensation you require.