2.3 million workers endure work-related accidents every year.
From minor office accidents to severe construction accidents, a workplace accident can leave you injured or even dead.
You’ll also have to take time off of work and may accumulate injury-related expenses, such as doctor’s visits and medication.
These accidents are also devastating for employers. You’ll have to provide worker’s comp and you’ll endure the stress of missing valuable staff members.
What’s the best way to stay safe at work?
Identify common work accidents and do what you can to prevent them from happening. This includes common hazards at work, such as operating machinery, and even unlikely disasters.
Here are the most common workplace accidents and how to prevent them.
The Most Common Accidents and Injuries
Which accidents and injuries are most likely to happen? Here’s a breakdown of each.
The most common accidents:
- Material handling
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Struck by an object
- Tools and machinery
- Overexertion and repetitive stress injury
These accidents usually cause these injuries:
Knowing the most common accidents and injuries will help you prevent them.
Struck or Caught by Machines
Machinery poses an extreme safety hazard when it’s not properly maintained or when it’s not correctly used. Common machinery-induced hazards include being struck or caught by a machine.
Being caught by a machine is especially devastating. While the injuries could be minor, you can face severe injuries such as severed and crushed body parts.
You can also be struck by a machine. For example, if a machine has a moving part, it can hit you in the head and can cause a concussion.
How do you prevent machinery-induced accidents? Never operate machinery unless you received optimum training. Know the risks of using machinery and practice safe use, including wearing protective clothing.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls can occur in any work setting. You can trip at the office or fall off high heights at your construction job. Either way, these injuries can be devastating.
While most of these hazards cause minor injuries such as cuts and muscle sprains, your injuries can be as severe as broken bones and head and back trauma.
How do you prevent these injuries? Always be aware. Avoid slippery floors and loose rugs and carpeting. You’ll also want to be careful during extreme weather, especially if you work outside.
Other ways to prevent these accidents is by improving your work lighting for visibility, removing clutter off the floor, ensuring no items or furniture sticks out in walkways, and the surface is uneven.
Fires and Explosions
No one wants to imagine their workplace exploding into flames. But it does happen. Common causes include poor pipe lifting, faulty gas lines, and improperly stored combustible materials.
Fires and explosions can be fatal. At the least, they can cause burns, respiratory damage, and disfigurement.
How do you prevent fires? Ensure your gas lines and pipes are working fine. Follow the OSHA fire prevention plan. Depending on the type of work done, you may need to wear fire protective clothing.
If you work in a transportation-based position, such as a delivery or truck driver, you risk an accident.
While hitting or being hit by another vehicle are the most common types of accidents, other examples include falling from your vehicle and getting run over.
Transportation accidents can either be a minor inconvenience or they can be fatal. Oftentimes, you’ll need to find a personal injury attorney near me and take your case to court.
The best way to prevent a transportation accident is by staying alert behind the wheel. Don’t distract yourself, don’t drink and drive, and get plenty of rest before driving. Always wear your seatbelt.
Repetitive Stress Injury
Does your job entail repeated movements, such as constantly lifting heavy items? You can be a victim of repetitive stress injury.
While these may not always be severe, they can result in pain and other injuries such as a pulled muscle. At the most extreme, the worker will have restricted movement and won’t be able to perform the job correctly.
Repetitive stress injury is usually caused by overexertion, such as when you’re lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, holding, and throwing either throughout the workday or a heavy item.
Over time, this causes wear and tear on the body.
You can also become a victim of repetitive stress injury by doing menial tasks. For example, constant typing can cause severe pain issues such as arthritis.
How do you prevent repetitive stress injuries? First, always lift and handle large and heavy objects correctly. The OSHA has a materials handling section on this exact topic.
If you’re a business owner, always invest in machines that can lift heavy objects. Always implement frequent breaks and let your workers relax when they’re physically exhausted.
Other Best Practices for a Safe Workplace
Want to continue promoting a safe workplace? Use these best practices every day.
Communicate Safety to Your Staff
Always communicate safety procedures to your staff. Inform them of dangerous equipment and machinery.
For best results, display signs and safety warnings around your workplace. This includes safety exits in the event of a fire. You should also display signs if a piece of machinery is out of order.
Check for Safety Hazards
As a business owner, you should be the first to know about hazards in your workplace.
Whether the hazards are simple such as spills or a faulty piece of equipment, you should know about these hazards before your staff members.
You should also conduct regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs for all equipment and machinery.
Stay Safe At Work
No matter what type of job you have, workplace accidents can happen. Some of them are minor while others are fatal.
To prevent a work injury, it’s best to know what types of injuries occur at the workplace and the accidents that cause them.
Do you own a warehouse? Here are some safety tips that will prevent injuries in your warehouse.