Everyone wants to avoid unnecessary injuries. Whether it is cleaning up those jagged Lego just waiting to produce late-night curses on a barefoot walk to the bathroom or ensuring that the ladder is properly secured before putting that extra coat of paint on the house, most responsible adults do their darndest to keep safe and a steer clear of acting negligently.
Much of our lives are spent at work, so it should come as no surprise that many attempt to carry over this same “safety-first” mentality when in the workplace, utilizing safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety gloves, eye protection and seat belts, and following given rules and safety standards.
Even so, workers are still injured and killed in the workplace every day, leaving us to ask:
How Can I Avoid Injuries in the Workplace?
A wise man once said, knowledge is power. Knowledge and awareness, in this instance, can save you from a lifetime of pain and suffering, along with a hefty hospital bill and the potential headache of going to court to defend your workers compensation claim.
According to data pulled from Travelers Insurance, the largest causes of accidents in the workplace are:
- Material handling (including lifting heavy objects): 32%
- Slips, trips and falls (including tripping over obstructed walkways and slipping on wet surfaces): 16%
- Being struck by or colliding with an object (including walking into machinery or being hit by workplace vehicles): 10%
- Accidents involving tools (including any accident caused by the use of manual and power tools): 7%
- Cumulative trauma (including injuries caused by overusing or straining a body part over time): 4%
Though knowing the cause of most accidents is important, it is equally valuable to understand the injuries these accidents cause. Doing so will help paint a better picture of what the risks truly are when in the workplace. The most common injuries in the workplace included:
- Sprains/strains: 30%
- Cuts or punctures: 19%
- Contusions: 12%
- Inflammation: 5%
- Fractures: 5%
- Miscellaneous other injuries: 29%
Armed with this data, we can now assess how best to avoid injury while on the job.
- Day in, day out: Though sitting down at a desk for nine hours a day may not seem like strenuous work, even relatively low-impact work can actually wreak havoc on otherwise healthy people. From carpal tunnel caused from typing to back and neck issues developed by poor sitting posture, you do not need to work in manual labor to suffer real, serious injuries in the workplace. Do your best to maintain proper posture, break up the day with short walking breaks. Be sure to report any accidents or injuries to your employer.
- Watch your step: From wet surfaces to obstacles in walking paths, there are a plethora of potential dangers in the workplace that could very easily lead to a slip or trip and fall accident. When working, ensure that tools are put far away from footpaths, wires are neatly secured away from walkways, spills are cleaned up and clearly marked as wet surfaces and all other internal protocols in reference to slip and fall slip and fall risks are met. Do not forget that slip and fall injuries can easily cause the above-referenced sprains, strains, cuts, contusions and fractures.
- Play by the rules: Most companies of merit have a tried and true list of safety standards that should not only be studied but mastered before one steps into the responsibilities of their given position. This includes wearing the recommended safety equipment, taking breaks when needed and following guidelines for lifting heavy objects or operating heavy machinery. It is the responsibility of the employer to adequately train the employee how to operate within their position safely.
Accidents happen, but following your training and work safety standards, being aware of your footing and paying attention to ergonomics can go a long way to help you avoid injuries in the workplace. Your individual position may pose its own unique risks — working with heavy machinery, being exposed to high heat and humidity for extended periods, dealing with dangerous chemicals and countless other common work hazards must all be considered and dealt with to ensure that safety of all employees is maintained.
If you are injured while on the job, please do not hesitate to reach out to our workers’ compensation attorneys to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Remember, your employer is required by law to report your accident. Work hard, work smart, but most of all, work safe.