According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses approximately $170 billion per year. These incidents also raise the rate of absenteeism, lower production, and can increase workers’ compensation and retraining costs, resulting in lower profits.
Certain workplace injuries are far more prevalent than others, and many could be avoided if the proper safety precautions were in place. To help you spot potential hazards in your company, here is an overview of what causes the most common workplace injuries and what can be done.
The most common cause of injuries at work involves the handling of objects. This includes lifting, lowering and carrying items, as well as certain other actions. Injuries resulting from these activities range from strains and sprains to cuts, punctures, and contusions, and even fractures. Improper lifting and handling techniques are often responsible, as well as items being stored in an unsafe manner.
A person who is less experienced with the job is more likely to be injured than someone with experience, with a quarter of those hurt being on the job less than a year. To help lower the risk of injury, proper training is critical. This includes covering material handling techniques designed to limit the chance of being hurt, such as how to lift and lower heavy objects and when it is wise to get help or use a lifting device.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls can be responsible for a whole host of injuries, ranging from simple strains and sprains to fractures to head injuries. Even death is possible during the aftermath of a fall.
Wet floors are an obvious culprit, though foreign objects in walkways and uneven surfaces can also be responsible. To lower the risk of a slip, trip, or fall injury, it is important to keep walkways clear at all times. Make sure signs are used to mark potential hazards, like wet floors, and that uneven surfaces are repaired quickly. Non-slip rugs are also helpful if a surface is innately slippery.
When employees are working from a height, it is vital to have the proper safety gear available. Make sure the use of ladders is accompanied with proper training and that all stairs or elevated walkways have suitable guardrails.
Any item stored above floor level can potentially fall and injure someone. Materials kept on shelves should be limited based on the number of approved layers, and those placed in piles need to have stack limits to help ensure the items are balanced. If debris is likely in an area, then clear signage should be in place warning of the hazard and personal protective equipment should be provided to anyone who has to cross through the area. When employees are removing items from an upper shelf, others should avoid passing through the area underneath to ensure that, if an object falls, there is no one in its path.
By taking basic precautions and requiring comprehensive safety training, many common workplace injuries can be avoided. If you would like to learn more about workplace safety or are interested in hiring a new employee, the professionals at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to discuss the needs of your company today.