Commonly Preventable Workplace Accidents
Many of us who work in offices may not think as much about workplace safety compared to a roofer or someone working an oil rig. And although some professions are on average much more dangerous than others (1 in 5 of all private workplace deaths occur in the construction industry, for instance) it's no reason to disregard the things that are most likely to injure you or those around you at work. You don't need to work on scaffolding to be badly injured by a trip and fall; stairs exist in many commercial buildings, and I guarantee you that soft drink dispensers and swivel chairs injure many more people per year than you might think. So to make sure that the shocked look on your boss's face isn't the last thing you'll ever see, here is a list of the most common workplace accidents as compiled by OSHA, the National Safety Council and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
1) Slip and Fall
Not surprisingly, the slip and fall is a very common workplace accident and takes place across all industries. Anything from a wet floor to an uneven boat deck to out-of-code stairways can cause a fall, which in many cases could be more serious than you would think. Even small falls from chairs can result in serious head or neck injuries.
2) Struck by Object
Number two is almost the opposite of the first, as instead of falling on the object the object falls on you! These objects may have been set in motion by gravity by being improperly stacked or secured, or thrown by another person or piece of machinery. These incidents can again be very serious, as many "struck by object" accidents involve a head injury. Always be aware of your surroundings and remember to look up when entering new spaces.
Especially in heavy industry, entanglement can lead to a variety of accidents and injuries. Moving rollers, cables, or conveyor belts can easily snag clothing or jewelry, leading to workers being trapped, cut or crushed by machinery. Less seriously, workers can also become entangled in exposed cords or wiring which could also lead to a fall.
4) Repetitive Motion
Anyone who has ever had carpal tunnel can tell you this is true. Though these "cumulative trauma" injuries rarely result in anything as serious as a head injury or broken bones, they can very negatively affect the life of workers both at home and in the office. Education of ergonomic work techniques can greatly reduce repetitive motion injuries, and can even help prevent other accidents such as falling objects dropped by work-weakened hands.
Since electricity is used in most every business in the country, it should come as no surprise that many people are hurt or killed by it each and every year. Workers in the construction industry are again more likely to experience this, though electrocution-related accidents can happen anywhere at anytime. Like many other accident types on this list, shocks and electrocutions can be greatly reduced by safety training and identifying all electrical hazards.
Any action involving physical activity can lead to injury. Overexertion accidents can either occur all at once or be the product of years-worth of strain that eventually manifests in some type of chronic pain. Proper instruction on how to safely lift or carry, along with ample break time given to workers who need it, will help guard against these accidents that can be so debilitating.
Workplace violence is a main contributor to workplace accidents every year and can take a number of different forms. Sometimes the violence may occur between employees, between employees and family members, or (especially in the case of retail) between the employee and a member of the public. Deescalation techniques can be helpful before these situations, and having sufficient security if needed is also important. Also, creating anonymous communication channels can help employees voice their concerns about workplace violence without being singled out.
In many cases, accidents happen with seemingly no cause, as if nothing could have been done to prevent them. Even if it may seem that way, though, there are very likely a number of things that could have been done to make the accident less severe or to stop it altogether. Next time you're in your office or standing on your loading dock, look around and try to isolate any number of things that could lead to an injury. Sometimes something as simple as picking up a wet rag from the floor could prevent a life-changing injury, or something as easy as posting a "high voltage" sign could save a life. Being aware of our surroundings and looking out for those we work with could bring these accident numbers down and create a safer world for us all to live in.
SERVPRO® of Archuleta, Montezuma, La Plata & San Juan Counties hope your business remains accident free and we are here to help you 24/7/365 with any commercial restoration issue.
Please call us at 970-259-6184