While many people talk about “workplace accidents,” many types of work injury are in fact quite preventable. Knowing how to prevent serious workplace incidents can reduce your risk of injury and can help you create a safer workplace at your company.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), some of the most common workplace injuries include:
- Falls. Falls from heights can affect construction workers and other contractors and workers. Often, using the right personal fall protection can help higher-risk workers prevent falls. Clearly marking fall hazards and installing railings on platforms where falls can take place can also help. Proper training and safety procedures are also needed on any site requiring ladders and scaffolding, as they can pose additional fall hazards.
- Slips. Slip and fall accidents are a danger in almost all jobs, from manufacturing work to office employment. Wiping up spills promptly and having a system for wiping up spills can help prevent some of these injuries.
- Chemical exposure. Employees can be exposed to dangerous substances on constructions sites, in industrial settings, in the healthcare sector and in many other fields. In many cases, these incidents can be prevented with accurate data sheets explaining the hazards, proper processes for storing and using dangerous substances, and the correct use of respirators and other protective gear.
- Machinery accidents. Machinery accidents can lead to amputations, fatalities, crushing injuries and other devastating injuries. In many cases, these incidents occur because machines are not stopped during repairs or maintenance or because proper rails are not in place. Heavy machinery should have warning signs to alert employees and guardrails and other protective measures if needed. Lockout/tagout safety procedures should be used to shut off machinery when needed and machines should be inspected regularly to ensure they are safe.
- Vehicle accidents. Many jobs, from courier to truck driver, require many hours on the road. Unfortunately, this puts some workers at risk of traffic accidents. Vehicle accidents on the job can often be prevented. Employees may reduce their risk if they get adequate training to stay safe on the road and if their vehicles are routinely checked and inspected for safety.
A Special Note on Exhaustion
Fatigue is a contributor to many types of workplace accidents. Workers are more likely to be in forklift, car or machinery accidents when they are tired and making mistakes. Tired workers are also more likely to fall and may be more likely to put their coworkers at risk with preventable mistakes.
Preventing fatigue is simple. Workers can strive to get at least eight hours of sleep a night by going to bed early and they can visit the doctor if they suspect they may have sleep apnea. Employers can help by ensuring shift work is arranged to cause minimal sleep disruptions and by offering deadlines and work conditions which allow workers plenty of sleep. Greater awareness about the dangers of sleep deprivation can also ensure workers get the rest they need to be safe.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident and are having trouble getting workers’ compensation benefits, contact MyCompLawyers for a free, confidential consultation.