The Three Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
According to the National Safety Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting home and community safety, an American worker gets hurt on the job every seven seconds. This rate of worker injury results in thousands of lost productivity days as well as thousands of dollars in healthcare expenses for many working Americans. While these injuries and accidents can be severe, preventative actions help eliminate some of the risks. To help, here’s a list of the most common workplace injuries and how to avoid them.
Overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries and includes injuries as a result of lifting, lowering, or other repetitive motions. Whether a contractor hurts their back on a construction job or an office worker suffers from a repetitive strain injury due to consistent keyboarding, some of these injuries can be prevented by taking appropriate breaks and using ergonomic equipment. Consider using a hand truck on the job or using a suitable keyboard and desk chair to avoid these sorts of injuries. Also, learning appropriate lifting and lowering techniques can have a significant impact on the likelihood of a workplace injury. Any repetitive motion of the joints may result in injury or chronic pain if no precautions are taken.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Whether an employee works in an office, a retail store, or at a construction site, they will likely encounter a slick or slippery surface at some point on the job. Slips, trips, and falls are another leading cause of workplace injuries in the United States. Workers should ensure that they are always wearing the appropriate footwear. Closed-toe and well-fitting shoes can significantly reduce the risk of trips and falls.
Additionally, practicing good housekeeping at the workplace so that there isn’t anything to trip over will help reduce the risk of falling on the job. If a worker needs to use a ladder, ensure that the ladder is on an even, stable surface. It’s a good idea to have a “spotter,” or someone at the base of the ladder, in case the ladder needs additional support.
Contact with Objects and Equipment
Another leading cause of workplace injuries is unfortunate contact with objects and equipment. Broadly, this covers incidents such as a worker accidentally walking into objects like walls, doors, cabinets, windows, etc. It’s crucial for employers to diligently clear the workplace of any hazards to avoid these injuries. For workers who are around heavy machinery every day, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent severe injury or death. This includes wearing all of the appropriate protective gear, making sure the workspace is free of hazards and distractions, and being aware of all moving parts and objects on the job. Additionally, to avoid being hurt by falling objects, make sure to store all heavy equipment and boxes near the ground.
Top 5 Occupations With the Most Workplace Injuries
Some jobs are riskier than others just by their very nature. For example, a firefighter has a higher risk of injury on the job than a typical office worker. However, an office worker is at risk for developing specific repetitive stress injuries that a construction worker probably won’t encounter.
Firefighters and police officers have a high risk of occupational injuries due to the requirements of their jobs. Service members are also at risk of being hurt by another person in addition to usual occupational hazards such as repetitive motion injuries and falls.
Transportation and Shipping
Truck drivers and warehouse workers also have a high risk of occupational injuries. Repetitive lifting associated with loading and unloading vehicles and other containers can result in strained and sprained muscles, broken bones, and more. It’s vital to lessen the chances of these injuries by taking preventative measures.
Manufacturing and Production
Employees of factories and plants are at risk of injury caused by encounters with heavy equipment and other machinery. The workplace must be kept free of hazards and distraction to ensure safety for all workers.
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Workers who often use ladders and are exposed to other dangerous conditions to repair them are at risk for a workplace injury. Practicing diligence and making sure that every situation is approached with care can significantly reduce the rate of workplace accidents for people who work in the installation, maintenance, and repair industry.
Construction workers and other contractors are at risk for injury due to their oft exposure to heavy machinery and dangerous conditions. Again, paying attention and keeping the work environment free of hazards are essential preventative measures to take on any construction site.
Education is Key
Hands down, the best way to avoid workplace injuries is to train and educate employees properly. Workers should be well-informed about the risks they encounter on a day-to-day basis, and employers should make sure that the workplace is free of all unnecessary hazards. Training manuals and seminars are great ways to introduce and explore risks on the job, and ensuring that all employees are aware of preventative measures and other ways to avoid injury is essential to preventing unnecessarily lost workdays.
How Can We Help?
Westcare Clinic in Olympia, WA, is open seven days a week. In addition to providing same-day care for emergent situations, such as some workplace injuries, Westcare Clinic offers a plethora of occupational medicine services. These include pre-employment physicals, surveillance exams, hazardous materials exams, and more. Additionally, Westcare Clinic employs professionals trained in occupational medicine screening services such as drug screenings, EKGs, lead screenings, and audiograms. Westcare Clinic even has an onsite x-ray facility available to its patients to provide quick, accurate diagnoses and results.
Some occupations require pre-employment immunizations. If this is the case, Westcare Clinic offers same-day services for vaccinations, including the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and tuberculosis vaccines. Call today to speak with a trained healthcare professional.