Injuries in the workplace are nothing new – they occur every day in organizations, irrespective of the industry they operate in. Even organizations that don’t use heavy machinery or dangerous equipment see workplace injuries – trips or falls are enough to cause serious accidents. While workplace injuries are detrimental for employees as these can lead to long-term consequences and even deaths, organizations also face a number of problems. These can include OSHA violations, penalties, employee turnover, lower employee morale, loss of goodwill, and higher administrative costs. As a result, organizations must eliminate or reduce workplace injuries, and to do that, they employ safety professionals. That being said, let’s take a look at the most common workplace injuries safety professionals face, how to prevent them, and how to improve safety in the workplace.
Common injuries in the workplace and tips to prevent them
Falls or slips
One of the most common workplace injuries that occurs in nearly any organization across any industry is accidental falls or slips. Mundane scenarios such as wet floors, unstable or slippery surfaces, exposed wires or cords on the floor, poor lighting conditions, and debris can lead to slips. The injuries caused by these scenarios range from simple bruises and cuts to torn ligaments, broken bones, or could even lead to spinal cord injuries. Thus, all falls or slips must be prevented by organizations and their safety professionals.
One of the most obvious things to do is bring attention to the environment that might lead to such accidents, and this can be done by placing brightly colored warning signs in front of or around the spills, exposed wires, or debris. Reminding employees to be aware of their surroundings by hanging posters that explain how awareness can reduce workplace injuries can be a good strategy as well, showing that you care for your employees’ wellbeing.
Receiving electrical shock
Another common workplace injury is caused by electric shocks, and these can result in lasting damage. Workers can receive electrical shocks from unsafe or exposed electrical outlets, faulty wiring, exposed cords, electrical appliances, and power lines. The damage can be something as insignificant as mild discomfort or could even cause cardiac arrests, thermal burns, loss of muscle control, damage to body tissues, and even death. Electrical injuries cause around 1000 deaths each year, according to the National Institute of Health. Furthermore, at least 30,000 shock-related incidents are reported each year, and while they might not be fatal, they can have significant consequences down the line. Fortunately, most of these workplace injuries are preventable if proper precautions are taken.
Any exposed wires and unsafe outlets or equipment should be immediately reported to the appropriate personnel. Moreover, these dangerous objects must be properly labeled and in a bright color, indicating the risks they pose to any worker who is around or using them. However, there are many industries where working with electrical risks is unavoidable, and providing protective gear such as insulated gloves, rubber boots, etc, for these workers is mandatory.
Falls from height
One of the more common workplace injuries, a fall from height can occur in any organization as well. For instance, a staircase without railings might look aesthetic, but it is a recipe for disaster in the workplace. If an employee has their hands full with documents or their laptop and they lose their balance climbing the stairs, a fall is inevitable. Additionally, many workers are exposed to dangerous heights on the job – those in the construction industry and those who clean windows, for example. Falling from roofs, high platforms, scaffolding, and ladders can be extremely dangerous for workers.
Preventing these incidents is possible if the dangers are removed from the equation. For instance, creating stable platforms and scaffolding, ensuring that staircases have railings, and providing the best safety equipment to workers are some good strategies. Moreover, OSHA also requires organizations to provide their employees with safeguards to prevent injuries in the workplace and doing so will ensure OSHA compliance.
Workers in the transportation industry, for instance, need to drive vehicles quite often. They can be exposed to undesirable conditions such as bad weather, equipment failure, and the irresponsible driving habits of others. Collisions, crashes, etc., are something that workers need to avoid when on the road. Vehicular accidents can occur in the workplace as well – cranes, forklifts, trucks, tractors, etc., that need to be operated can break down, malfunction, and cause injuries to the drivers or others around them.
The best way to prevent such injuries is by raising awareness through training. Constantly remind your workers to drive or use heavy-duty motor vehicles safely and responsibly. Ensure that workers are not distracted by anything while they operate the vehicles. Also, in the case of heavy-duty vehicles such as cranes, forklifts, etc., provide training to any new operators and ensure that these vehicles are properly maintained and used in a safe manner.
Getting hit by objects
In organizations that deal with construction, warehousing, etc., falling objects are quite common, and these may cause severe injuries for anyone walking around the area. Even a passer-by can be hit by something falling from above. Customers, suppliers, or really anyone who comes to the location are at risk.
For those dealing with construction, many safeguards can be used to significantly reduce workplace injuries. For instance, safety nets are used by many to catch falling debris or, in the worst-case scenario, workers in high-rise constructions. If required, use stronger nets or two layers of such nets to increase safety. In warehouses, provide training to the workers to ensure that they know the risks associated with falling objects so that they carefully store materials and be extra cautious in places where they are prone to falling.
Reduce injuries in the workplace and simplify compliance with Safety Assure
There are many solutions out there that can help to prevent or reduce workplace injuries, but implementing them is just one step towards ensuring workplace safety. Organizations need to document workplace-related injuries, provide training, report incidents, and promote safe practices to ensure OSHA compliance. Safety Assure can help you do all that and more.
Safety Assure by CloudApper is an OSHA recordkeeping and workplace safety compliance application that helps you go paperless, streamline compliance, reduce the administrative burden, reduce workplace injuries, and boost your bottom line. The best part is you can manage your OSHA compliance efforts right from your smartphone or tablet, helping you do it on the go.
Employees can report incidents, accidents, and near misses using their smartphones and even attach photos to provide context, after which management can take appropriate action, reducing response times. Safety Assure’s analytics can help you detect the hotspots that lead to accidents and address them, reducing future incidents.
Safety Assure can do all that and so much more – contact us now to find out more about how we can help.