In 2018, 5,250 workers died on the job. On average, that’s over 14 deaths a day.
Every 7 seconds in the United States, a worker gets injured on the job. The most common types of work accidents known for keeping employees away from their jobs are sprains and strains, soreness (typically in the back or neck), and cuts or lacerations.
The most likely professions to cause a workplace accident are jobs in fields such as construction and manufacturing. Unfortunately, many injuries occur because of unsafe workplace conditions or insufficient training.
That means that many of those workplace accidents and injuries can be avoided.
Do you want to learn about the most common workplace injuries and what you can do to keep yourself safe?
Keep reading to find out!
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur in a number of different ways. More often than not, an employee slips on slick or wet floors. The employee might hit their hand, land on their back, or suffer another injury as a result of a slip and fall.
Falling while working at height is another risk. Whereas falls from ladders are more common, falls from platforms and scaffolding can also be detrimental.
How to Stay Safe
As an employee, there’s only so much you can do to stay safe. Sometimes the fault lies with the manager or person-in-charge at a particular job site or business.
Regardless, here are some things you can do to ensure you and others at your place of work don’t slip and fall:
- Upon discovery of a spill, clean it up immediately
- Use appropriate signs such as “wet floor” or “caution”
- Install or request handrails where steps are frequented often
- Wear non-slip shoes
- Place non-skid tape on steps
- Report any slippery spots to management
- Wear appropriate gear (hardhat, pads, steel-toe boots, etc.)
- Use equipment according to rules and regulations
- Don’t work alone
Slips can happen anywhere. Anyone can benefit from wearing non-slip shoes at their place of work. If that’s not an option, stay aware and report any potentially hazardous situations to management immediately.
RSIs (Repetitive Strain Injuries) have become quite common in certain workplace environments.
While some employers don’t take these injuries seriously, these injuries can be long-lasting and detrimental to an employee’s life and bank account.
Ergonomic equipment, like hand trucks and standing desks, can help to alleviate strain.
How to Prevent Injuries
Here are some ideas for preventing repetitive injuries:
- Take regular breaks away from your repetitive tasks
- Stretch at the beginning and end of your workday
- Opt for ergonomic whenever you can and make requests to management
- Attend proper training and preventative health programs to educate on work positioning
- Whenever possible, add or ask for automation
If there’s nothing management will do to change your work environment, your body will benefit significantly from taking regular breaks, eating healthy, and stretching.
Falling Object Accidents
Falling objects account for one of the worst and most surprising workplace accidents. Unfortunately, they can lead to serious head and bodily injuries.
Even in a simple office space, poor organization and clutter can result in objects slipping and falling on employees’ heads.
How to Stay Safe
Here are some things you and your employer can do to keep employees safe from falling objects:
- Wear a hardhat and appropriate gear if you’re on a construction site or job that requires specific safety gear
- Ask for proper storage space to ensure shelves and higher storage spaces aren’t cluttered
- Ask for or schedule a weekly clean-up/organization
When you’re at work, the best thing you can do to avoid getting hit in the head is to stay aware and wear appropriate gear. Request the necessary gear and storage space from your employer so that they comply with safety standards.
Accidents Causing Cuts or Lacerations
Employees can get cuts from almost anything. Whether you’re working in construction or at a pizza shop, there is always the chance of a workplace accident that causes a cut.
Anything from pizza cutters to letter openers to heavy machinery can cause serious damage to your body and ability to work.
How to Avoid Cuts and Lacerations
Make sure you’re up to date on all your shots, especially tetanus. Some other things you can do to avoid scrapes, cuts, and lacerations are:
- Return tools to their rightful place and store like things together
- Wear appropriate gloves whenever you work with or around anything sharp
- Keep all equipment from furniture to office machines to production machines in good shape
- Get rid of or cover up any sharp or jagged edges that can lead to hazards
Every business should have a first aid kit and the appropriate medical tools should an accident occur. Find out where yours is and make sure it’s stocked.
Chemical Inhalation or Fumes
Anything from cleaning products to intense chemicals on a construction site can cause both short and long-term health effects.
Short-term effects include symptoms such as headaches or lightheadedness, whereas long-term effects include chronic conditions like a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The idea of “sick building syndrome” is common for many businesses. What it means is that there’s a “chemical stew” of building materials that mix together in a poorly-ventilated environment and make for a dangerous workplace.
Chemical spills and workplace accidents, including fume inhalation, can lead to serious injuries.
How to Avoid Chemicals and Fumes
Here are some ideas for preventing workplace accidents and injuries pertaining to fumes or chemical inhalation:
- Wear face masks, goggles, and respirators when working in areas that are deemed to be high-risk
- Make sure there is proper ventilation in the building where you work
- Ask about cleaning and maintenance procedures and make sure air is continuously circulating
- Store chemicals properly in the right storage containers and at the right temperature
- If you aren’t sure how to use something, ask for training
If you feel there isn’t sufficient ventilation or that your employer hasn’t provided the necessary gear, don’t be afraid to ask.
Crashes and Collisions
Crashes and collisions are some of the worst accidents in the workplace.
Many of these workplace accidents occur while driving a vehicle or using small mobile machinery that isn’t covered under commercial vehicle insurance.
Whether you’re driving a forklift in a warehouse or you’re a sales rep visiting a client, workplace accidents should be prevented and protected before they occur.
It’s the job of an employer to provide the appropriate training for using both heavy and minor equipment. If you feel uncomfortable doing anything on the job, don’t hesitate to ask for training.
How to Prevent Crashes and Collisions
Take a look at these suggestions to ensure your safety by avoiding potential collisions and crashes:
- Make sure your employer offers proper training
- If you’re driving for long periods of time, make sure to take breaks
- Stay well-rested
- Wear proper safety equipment
- Stay alert and aware, whether you’re driving 5 minutes to see a client or operating a tractor for the hundredth time
If you’re concerned about other machine operators on the job, ask your employer what their requirements are. Find out what training regulations and requirements are and check with your employer to make sure they’re offering the appropriate education to all employees.
If you’re hurt or injured on the job, don’t hesitate to file a report and choose from the best accident doctors specializing in workplace injuries.
Believe it or not, a lot of workplace accidents occur as a result of a physical dispute between employees.
Sometimes employees just don’t get along, and after spending too much time together, those disagreements can lead to fights. More often than not, those fights will lead to an accident at the workplace, which can lead to injuries, which then leads to missed work and an injury claim.
Tips for Avoiding Workplace Fights
Here are some tips to keep yourself safe by avoiding workplace fights:
- Ask your employee for harassment and diversity training
- Report any initial dispute or disagreement, however minor
- Keep your distance from those you don’t necessarily work well with
Not all conflicts are preventable. However, if you should find yourself in a workplace conflict, the best thing you can do to avoid potential accidents and injuries is to walk away.
Work Accidents Can Happen At Any Job
Even though a significant amount of work accidents happen on construction and manufacturing sites, workplace accidents and injuries can happen at any place of employment.
Unfortunately, employers don’t always provide the proper resources and training to keep their employees safe. If you feel or know that your employer is lacking, don’t be afraid to bring it to their attention and ask for what is required.
While you work, make sure you wear proper gear and equipment and don’t operate anything that you don’t feel 100% confident using.
And if you do experience a workplace accident, make sure that you follow procedure, report your incident, and get medical help.
Do you want to learn more tips and tricks for staying safe and healthy in your everyday life? Check back daily for all things that matter!