Harmful Hazards: How To Avoid The Common Causes of Workplace Injury

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Last Updated: Oct 27, 2021

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 out of every 100 full-time workers report illness and injury each year. That may not seem like much, but In 2020, the number of people employed as full-time workers was just over 123 million. When you consider that 2.8 people will be injured for every 100 people contained in that 123 million, the urgency of the situation becomes much more clear.

At the top of the list for non-fatal workplace injuries are the healthcare, retail, and manufacturing industries. Healthcare totaled a startling 544,800 reported injuries in 2019, with the retail industry following at 401,100 and manufacturing rounding out the top three with 395,300.

While these industries topped the list, they are far from the only ones who can benefit from adopting practices to create a safer workplace. Some common harmful hazards can cause injuries in almost any work environment. Fortunately, measures can be taken to prevent them.

Overexertion: Avoiding The Dangers Of Too Much Work

Unfortunately, overworked and overexerted employees are becoming more and more common. Particularly in cities like Chicago, which is the 11th most expensive city in America to live in. With an average house cost of over $200,000, many people find themselves working extra shifts or second jobs.

This lifestyle of going from one job to the next, with little or no rest, leads employees to become overworked. When a person is overworked, they become tired, distracted, and more likely to be injured due to muscle fatigue. That makes it unsurprising that overexertion injuries account for 1 out of 3 work-related injuries, according to the National Safety Council.

The consequences of these injuries can range from a missed day of work to accidental death. With that very serious possibility in mind, let’s discuss ways to avoid overexertion.

Stretch regularly, but especially before lifting any heavy object. When lifting objects, always be sure to use the proper technique, keeping the weight of the object close to your body.

Take regular breaks when doing activities that involve bending, twisting, or remaining in other awkward positions. The same advice applies when doing other repetitive motion tasks, especially those involving the wrists and ankles.

Finally, get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of water. This helps prevent muscle fatigue, which can lead to more serious injuries.

Slip And Trip: Identifying And Removing Fall Hazards

Slips, trips, and falls are the leading causes of workplace injury. Accidental falls are the leading cause of injury-related death, claiming almost 40,000 lives in 2019, especially in construction. Fall deaths are most common in the construction field but can affect any industry.

To prevent falls, you should create a safety plan before working in a high place, scan the work environment for hazards before starting the job, ensure ladders are locked in place and put on any necessary personal protective equipment like a harness, helmet, or slip-proof shoes.

Critical Contact: Preventing Machine Vs. Person Collisions

Another common cause of workplace injuries is collisions between people and machines or objects. This includes being hit, crushed, pinned or otherwise struck. This type of workplace incident accounts for over 100,000 worker injuries every year.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the number one way to prevent crushing injuries is with proper training. Most injuries occur because someone unqualified is operating machinery or because someone forgets the proper protocol for working near that machine.

There are several ways you can keep yourself safe and help lower those numbers.

  • Never operate a piece of machinery you haven’t been trained on, even if instructed to do so by someone else.
  • Always pay attention when working near machines to avoid getting in a blind spot, or between them and an inescapable area, like a corner.
  • Don’t attempt to stop moving machinery. Equipment can be heavier than expected, and you could be seriously hurt.
  • If a machine isn’t working properly, always find a qualified individual to fix it. Even if you know exactly what the problem is, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself, unless you have been authorized to do so.

Investigating Injury Options: What Happens If You Do Get Hurt

If you’ve been hurt at work and are researching what options are available to you, it’s time to look into worker’s compensation. As an employee who’s been hurt due to the actions of an employer, you have a right to seek a fair settlement. An attorney specializing in worker’s compensation can help you begin the process today.

Everyone deserves to go home safe at the end of the day. Protect yourself, and others, by avoiding these common causes of workplace injuries.

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