Workplace safety should be an utmost priority for all businesses and operations, as it can significantly affect a company or organization’s most essential asset, its workforce, and can subsequently stifle productivity and have financial consequences. According to the National Safety Council, one worker is injured every seven seconds at work, about 4.6 million workers are injured on the job per year, and a total of 104 million production days are lost due to workplace injuries.
To make your workplace safer, it’s not enough to comply with health and safety regulations; one must be wary of the common workplace injuries to take the necessary steps to prevent them. So let’s take a look at these injuries and the preventive measures you can take to help your workforce avoid them:
Slips, Trips, and Falls:
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), slips, trips, and falls constitute 25.8% of all work-related injuries. Despite these being quite common, preventing these types of injuries is quite easy and straightforward. Good housekeeping can address the issues of slipping and tripping; your workplace should minimize any clutter on the floor to avoid tripping over them and any spills should be immediately cleaned up. To avoid falls, elevated platforms should have railings and ladders should be installed or placed on solid, even surfaces.
Contact with Objects and Equipment:
The next most common (26%) workplace injury is contact with objects, machinery, and equipment. There are numerous ways for one to be injured by workplace equipment: one’s limbs or clothing can be caught up in gears and moving parts, an employee can be struck by heavy equipment, or collapsing structures or packages could fall on anyone below it. As such, it’s important for one to properly stack and store objects, ensuring that the heavier objects are stored at the base. Workers should be extra careful and wary of moving equipment and objects to avoid getting struck or get caught by moving components. And everyone in the workplace and those operating machinery should wear proper protective gear and equipment.
Overexertion, according to the NSC, ranks as the most common workplace injury (33.54%). Overexertion happens through repetitive motion or poor posture when lifting or lowering heavy objects. Hence, your employees should be duly trained on how to properly lift and transport heavy objects and also allow your workforce to take short breaks in between heavy labor. Alternatively, your business or company can provide your workforce with equipment or vehicles such as hand trucks and forklifts to make lifting and transporting easier and significantly reduce the risk of overexertion.
Other Common Injuries:
The other common injuries that end up forcing your workers to require a few days off from work are sprains and tears (from heavy physical activities), neck and back soreness (from sitting too long or from poor posture), and cuts, lacerations, and punctures (from contact with sharp objects in the workplace). These injuries can easily be avoided as well by proper posture, correct handling of equipment, and being mindful of one’s surroundings.
Workplace injuries are common, and even with all of the preventive measures, safety equipment, and trainings, there’s always the risk of accidents and injuries no matter how small. It’s important for your company or business to have either on-site health professionals, first aid kits and staff that are trained in first aid in case of accidents, or at least orthopedics or occupational medicine physicians on call in case of any accidents in your workplace.