Top Causes of Disabling Injuries in the Workplace and Ways to Prevent Them
Disabling injuries are a heavy burden for both the workers and businesses as well. They compromise victims’ well-being and financial security. These injuries could cost your business millions of money through worker’s compensation and medical bills. Fortunately, disabling injuries can be prevented by implementing certain safety steps. Below is a list of the major causes of disabling injuries and the roles employers and workers can play to prevent them.
Overexertion is one of the major workplace disabling injuries. It shows its effects in the victim’s lower back from performing strenuous tasks such as working in awkward positions involving pushing and pulling, or excessive lifting and carrying of heavy objects. They typically occur in the construction, manufacturing, and warehousing workplaces, but can happen to any employee at any time. To avoid such injuries, employers should encourage workers to take frequent stretching breaks, and provide them with ergonomic work spaces and safety equipment for lifting and carrying heavy items. Proper training is also crucial to help employees learn good working practices. Employees also play a major role in protecting themselves through practicing good posture, avoiding lifting or carrying very heavy items, using safety equipment where necessary, taking frequent breaks amid working, and using ergonomic work spaces.
These are injuries that result from free bodily motion. Examples include sitting, standing, reaching, climbing, bending, and slipping or tripping without falling. To prevent these injuries, employers should train and educate workers on safe working practices, redesign and manual jobs to eliminate or minimize risks of bodily reactions, and make workplaces as comfortable as possible by providing convenient plant platforms and stools for workers to use. Workers should pay attention to posture, take time and be careful on what they’re doing, and try to change positions frequently.
Falls on the Same Level
These injuries can result from slips and trips due to spills, loose floor mats, smooth flooring surfaces, and wet or oily surfaces. Workers could trip due to cluttered walkways, poor lighting, obstructed views, uneven walking surfaces and exposed cables. Employers should provide workers with proper footwear, train and educate workers on good housekeeping practices, ensure sufficient lighting in all areas in the workplace, secure floor mats using adhesive strips, and change or modify walking surfaces. Workers should also ensure to clean all spills immediately, wear proper footwear, avoid walking or working on poorly lit sites, and keep all walkways clear of obstructions.
Being Struck by Objects
Struck-by injuries are very common, especially in the construction industry, but can also happen in any work environment. They include anything that can fall and strike a worker from above or rolling objects that can strike a worker at the same level where they’re standing or working. Workers walking or working below elevated surfaces are at high risk of being struck by objects. Employers should conduct regular workplace assessments to identify struck-by hazards, implement a preventative maintenance program and a warning system, and provide workers with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats. Workers should store materials and equipment properly, keep a safe distance from suspended tools, always wear appropriate PPE, report all hazards and incidents, and avoid walking or working below elevated surfaces whenever possible.