Injuries in the workplace are more common than one might assume; in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly three million injuries occur in U.S. workplaces every year.
Occupational accidents can cause both the employer and employee valuable time, money, and resources, so practicing safety in the workplace is an absolute must.
We can keep ourselves safe by first being aware of what types of injuries most commonly occur in the workplace. While total avoidance is unlikely, awareness will allow you to take preventable measures and have healthy conversations with your employees to lower the chances of an accident happening.
Below you’ll find a list of the 5 most common workplace injuries with some useful tips to keep you healthy and safe on the job.
Trips, Slips & Falls
Trips, slips, and falls account for one third of all personal injuries in the workplace and are among the top causes of all workers compensation claims. (Source) These accidents are most commonly a result of wet or oily surfaces, poor lighting, loose rugs, uneven walking surfaces, falling from equipment, and weather hazards.
You can prevent these types of accidents by wearing proper footwear, being hyper-aware of your surroundings (i.e. if the floor is wet, icy, or something is out of place), following all safety measures, and immediately reporting areas where accidents could happen.
Overexertion & Muscle Strains
Overexertion and muscle strains are the most physically enduring injuries for employees and the most costly accidents for the employer. These accidents can lead to long-term health risks and an overall loss of productivity for both the employer and employee. These types of injuries are often the result of:
- Improper lifting
- Manually lifting heavy objects
- Repetitive work with no breaks
- Jumping from one level to another
- Overexertion from lifting, pushing, carrying, throwing
- Completing intensive computer work without good ergonomics in place
To prevent these types of injuries, make sure your employer is providing you with proper equipment and adequate physical and ergonomic training. If training has been provided, it is important you are following those safety measures closely.
Struck by Stationary or Moving Objects
Being struck by an object is physically damaging for the employee. These accidents can include getting struck by other co-workers performing tasks in the facility, equipment, or falling objects. The most common causes of these injuries are:
- Poorly guarded machinery
- Falling materials
- An employee getting caught in equipment
- Heavy equipment falling over
- Walking into walls, machinery or other objects and equipment
Most of these injuries can be avoided by being aware of your surroundings, especially in high-risk workplaces. You should also always wear protective equipment and avoid wearing loose clothing that can get stuck in machinery or objects.
Many workplaces have vehicles such as forklifts, moving vans, and trucks. Any workspace that has vehicles is at risk for serious accidents to happen. Common injuries include being struck or run over by a vehicle, falling from a vehicle, or being struck by objects falling from a vehicle. These accidents can cause detrimental long-term physical damage.
Everyone in the workplace should be very clear on workplace design. Which routes do vehicles travel down and at what times? If you are unsure, discuss this with your manager or work team leader.
Fire & Explosions
As expected, fires and explosions can cause severe burns, damage to the respiratory system, and other serious health risks. While less common than other injuries listed above, fires and explosions hold the highest casualty rate so practicing safety is critical and can be life-saving.
Your employer should have safety measures in place if your workplace is at risk for fire and explosions. If you are not 100% clear on these practices, you should speak to your manager right away.
While preventable, workplace injuries are not completely avoidable. If you experience an occupational injury, it is important you seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible so that you can prevent further strain or injury, which could lead to long-term damage.
Our team at Albany Chiropractic & Physical Therapy are adept at treating workplace injuries and can help you feel better and help you recapture your health. You can request an appointment online by clicking here or by giving our Colonie, New York office a call at (518)-869-3884.