It’s a pretty well-known fact that some industries have naturally higher risks for on-the-job injuries. Things like factory work, construction sites, and building/manual labor present a bigger change for someone to get hurt while they’re at work. Obviously, no one wants to get hurt at work, and for that reason, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has policies in effect that help to regulate work conditions and help prevent injury. In order to avoid being injured on the job, it’s helpful to know what the most common injuries are and how to prevent them from happening.
1. Overexertion Injuries
In jobs that require hard labor like heavy lifting, carrying, building, or throwing, workers are susceptible to overexertion injuries like pulled muscles, sprains, back injuries, or even heart attack. Employers should have policies in place to prevent injuries like these—employees need proper training for lifting and should report any aches or pains to the job’s supervisors. Encourage employees to take breaks if they are feeling exhausted from a particular task to avoid straining muscles, and hold regular training sessions to reinforce workplace safety.
2. Slipping and Falling, or Falling from Heights
Slips and falls are all too common. They can be caused by:
- an employee losing footing
- uneven ground
Slippery floors should be cleaned immediately, wet floors should have wet floor signs, and if floors are uneven, there should be caution signs posted until the floor is fixed—or better yet, that part of the building should be off limits until it is safe. If an employee slips and falls, an incident report should be filed, and that employee should seek medical care to prevent further injury. As for falling from heights, such as off of ladders or roofs, these are difficult accidents to prevent, but employees can use proper protection gear if it is available, like harnesses when working on roofs or windows on the sides of buildings. These can be slip-and-fall incidents, or they can be due to faulty equipment, like a ladder breaking.
Equipment should always be in excellent condition to provide optimal safety. When equipment is not maintained, the employer may be held liable for any workplace injuries, but in those cases, the employee will have to get a workers’ compensation lawyer involved for additional help.
3. Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries can be similar to overexertion injuries, but they also include things like office workers who experience pain and injury from things like typing, or mail carriers who frequently have to lift heavy boxes. These can be prevented by employers making sure that their employees have proper break schedules and aren’t overextending their abilities. For example, if a person can only lift 50 pounds, they shouldn’t be made to lift 75 pound boxes all day long—that is bound to cause injury sooner rather than later. Likewise, ergonomic solutions can help prevent office-related injuries.
4. Machine Entanglement
Machine entanglement, as you might imagine, is a rather gruesome work injury, but unfortunately, lax safety procedures mean that these types of injuries aren’t uncommon. Clothing, shoes, fingers, and hair are often left unprotected and can be quickly swept into the inner-workings of a machine, which can very swiftly cause severe injury or death.
Prevent these and other accidents by taking measures such as:
- wearing hairnets and close-fitting clothing
- being alert about your surroundings
- paying close attention to the task at hand
Taking these steps helps ensure that work injuries don’t occur, keeping responsible employees safe while simultaneously protecting their coworkers.
Bio: Steven J. Malman is the founder and President of Malman Law, a personal injury law firm in Chicago, Illinois. Steven has experience representing victims in personal injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation and premises liability cases.