Workplaces are minefields for accidents and injuries, whether through an employee’s own fault, an employer’s neglect of health and safety procedure or just general bad luck. All industries and businesses have injuries which will be more likely in a particular working environment — each of which is governed by workplace safety and health laws that impact the employers’ bottom line as well that of employees. It’s up to each employee to understand workers’ compensation and the governing laws of their jurisdiction.
Following are the most common types of injuries applicable to any functioning workplace.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
This is probably the most common area of injury at work. Slips, trips and falls can be caused by a variety of factors, from spillages not cleaned up properly, to boxes being left in the way. The best way to prevent slips, trips and falls is to ensure that no trip hazards are left out in any public walkway and that there is a proper procedure in place to ensure all spillages are cleaned up or acted upon as soon as possible. This could include providing caution signs for individuals to erect next to any spillage, before they have had a chance to clean it up.
Preventative methods aren’t always successful, however, as trips and falls are so easily done. It’s important, if an employer, that you act on any incident as soon as possible and tend to your employee’s wellbeing as soon as the slip, trip or fall occurs.
This most commonly happens with employees lifting heavy items. A proper health and safety procedure should include the correct way to lift heavy items – such as with your legs and not with your back – and no employee should attempt to lift heavy items without adequate training or if they do not feel comfortable lifting a particular item.
Muscle strain can also occur in other areas, such as wrist strain from working long hours at a desk. The way to avoid this is to ensure that an employee’s desk set up is tailored to their comfort and good posture, such as supplying a footrest, adequate chair and a correctly leveled desk.
Damage Via Noise Exposure
Some jobs require constant exposure to loud noises. Severe noise at work has the ability to cause hearing damage, whether through a gradual exposure causing hearing loss over time, or quick damage caused by a sudden, deafening noise. This is more common in the industrial area of work, which is why providing adequate ear protection is so important. Employees should also be trained in how to best use their ear protection and advised how to safely work under noisy conditions.
Toxic Fume Inhalation
Workplace accidents aren’t always obvious in a physical or violent way. If the air of a workplace is filled with hazardous fumes, such as dust and toxic gases, this can be a risk for any employee inhaling the fumes on a daily basis. If an employee’s job requires them to work with hazardous chemicals, they will be at risk of breathing issues or skin and eye reactions if they are not provided with the proper protective equipment. This equipment should include masks and goggles as well as adequate skin coverage in order to provide optimum protection.
Given the range of incidents that may occur, use of protective measures is beneficial. Additionally, planning helps; accidents affect long-term employment prospects so it is of the utmost importance that workers protect themselves physically and financially.