Five Most Common Workplace Injuries

HR Resource
June 3, 2014 — 3,479 views  
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Despite a firm’s best efforts, some employees will, inevitably, be injured on the job. In 2010, over 4,500 American workers received lethal injuries at work, while millions more incurred disabling injuries (arbill1.web11.hubspot.com). Injuries not only reduce productivity, they also increase worker’s compensation rates and can affect employee morale (smallbusiness.chron.com).

A recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance looked at the top five causes of injuries that have the potential to disable employees (www.safeopedia.com). The study removed fatigue and stress from the equation and simply looked at workplace safety conditions. Based on their findings, these are the five most common workplace injuries and how employers and employees can work together to avoid injury.

Overexertion

These types of injuries include any injury that occurs as a result of lifting, pulling, pushing, holding, carrying or throwing in the course of the employee’s normal workload. The most common overexertion injury affects the lower back and occurs most often in manufacturing or construction industries.

To avoid injury, employers should provide adequate support equipment, such as back supports and ergonomic work space (www.safeopedia.com). Employees need to use the equipment and practice good lifting techniques and posture. Taking regular breaks to stretch also minimizes strain.

Slips and Trips

Wet and/or slippery floors, poor lighting and objects lying on the floor are the most common cause of these types of injuries. These types of injuries can be alleviated by simply having employees wear the appropriate shoes, cleaning any spills immediately and ensuring proper lighting is available in all areas. All floor mats should be secured to the floor and employees must keep walkways clear.

Falls 

Falls from roofs, ladders and stairways can cause significant injuries. These types of injuries are seen in building cleaning and maintenance, transportation and health care. Employers need to ensure that employees have access to the appropriate safety equipment and employees must use it on every job. Training programs and “fall protection program” can benefit both parties in preventing these types of injuries (www.safeopedia.com).

Body Reaction

These types of injuries occur when an employee slips or trips, but doesn’t fall. While it would seem that not falling would prevent injuries, when an employee catches themselves before hitting the ground, muscle injury can occur.

This is a difficult type of injury for employers to prevent. Employers can take steps to redesign some job tasks that encourage this type of movement and provide stools or other equipment for employees who must stand in one position for extended periods of time. Employees need to continually be aware of their surroundings and change body position regularly to avoid fatigue.

Falling Objects

Being injured by a falling object is common in the construction industry, but can happen in any workplace where employees work where objects are at a height, such as warehouses or assembly lines. Most falling object incidents result in head injuries.

Employers can significantly reduce the possibility of injury by regularly assessing the workplace for hazards and providing the appropriate safety equipment. Employers should also implement a warning system to alert employees. Employees need to report any unsecure objects, wear protective gear and maintain a safe distance from suspended objects.

Employers and employees must work as a team to reduce the likelihood of injury. Employee safety groups working in conjunction with safety managers can have a significant impact on keeping employees safe and an employer’s bottom line healthy.

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