In 2016, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries reported by private industry employers. Nearly 900,000 of these injuries resulted in days away from work, with a median number of 8 days away. No matter how carefully your company follows health and safety precautions, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the top workplace injuries we see at The Center, and how to avoid them.
Overexertion is the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the US, and the second leading cause of missing days of work (first is the common cold). Overexertion injuries are usually the result of pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, or throwing a weight that exceeds the limits of the joint system doing the work, which leads to things like lower back pain and hip pain. Strains, sprains, overuse, and continued repetitive motions are also related to overexertion. To prevent these types of injuries, lighten heavy loads, be sure to use proper technique when lifting or carrying, and avoid any twisting motions. Take frequent short breaks when preforming repetitive motions such as bending, kneeling, or sitting.
Contact with Objects and Equipment
These injuries occur when a worker comes into contact with an object or piece of equipment. Examples include being struck by a falling object or becoming caught in a piece of equipment. Struck-by injuries are commonly seen in the construction industry, though they occur in other industries as well. To prevent these injuries, it is extremely important to follow safety protocols closely and always wear the proper personal protective equipment. Store heavier objects closer to the floor, and always be aware of moving equipment in your work area.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips and trips are the second leading cause of workplace injuries, accounting for 25% of reported cases. Slipping pertains to falls on wet or slippery floors, while tripping usually involves something lying on the floor. Falls can occur on the same level, such as when a person slips or trips, or to a lower level, such as falling off of a ladder, roof, or stairway. The easiest way to avoid these common injuries is to pay close attention to what is going on around you. Employers are required to have safety guidelines to ensure spills are promptly and properly cleaned, and debris should not be present. Wearing appropriate footwear can also play a big part in preventing slips, trips, and falls.
Roadway incidents are the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries. Employees who drive for business purposes can be injured in roadway accidents, often involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or tanker trucks. Farm tractors are another vehicle often involved in workplace injuries. The most basic step to prevent roadway incidents at work is to make sure employees are always, always wearing a seatbelt. Employee safe driving training and employer safe driving policies should be put into place and strictly enforced.
To help prevent workplace injuries, employers can be sure to only hire candidates who are truly qualified for their job and understand any safety hazards involved. Workers should participate in safety training and there should be frequent communication and resources involving safety on the job. Be sure to always follow all safety protocols closely. Accidents still happen, and when they do, it’s important to put your employees on the path to recovery as quickly as possible and help heal joint pain or muscle pain. The Center offers a wide range of occupational health services to support employers in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.