Most Common Workplace Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Accidents happen. Each year millions of people are injured on the job. There is no way to avoid every accident in the workplace, but you or your human resources representative (who hopefully has their human resources masters degree) can take steps to prevent injuries and accidents before they even happen.

Tripping, Slipping, Falling
It can be embarrassing to slip and fall or just simply trip trying to catch yourself.  Falling in the workplace leads to lacerations, head and back injuries, broken bones and pulled muscles. Common reasons for slipping and falling are often wet surfaces or loose rugs. Tripping is usually caused by low lighting, wrinkles in the rugs or carpeting and office clutter. You can prevent these things by keeping areas free of clutter. Be aware of wet areas and put caution signs in front of them so people see them before they even reach the area.

Lifting Heavy Objects
Many employees in both offices and warehouses are forced to lift, push, pull and carry heavy items. Lifting boxes of files, moving large objects or carrying big loads are parts of many jobs. You can prevent injuries sustained from manual handling a few ways. You should never allow a worker to carry heavy objects a long distance. Make sure the worker knows their own limits of weight so they don’t put a strain on their body. Always train workers in adequate lifting techniques. If items are simply too heavy to lift get equipment in place to ensure no one will get injured from even trying to move these items.

Employees that work around machinery should be extremely cautious. Body parts can get caught or struck by exposed machinery’s moving parts. Body parts can get crushed, fingers can get severed and lacerations can occur from these types of injuries. Always keep employees updated on the latest safety regulations. Hold safety training classes and hand out safety manuals to all employees. Mechanical hazards can be prevented by controlling and safeguarding all machines in the business. All operations should have efficient training and always wear protective clothing around machinery.

Repetitive Motion
Many employees repeat the same task in a repetitive manner. If you sit at a desk typing or if you load and unload items in a warehouse you are doing a repetitive motion. These things can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or spraining your body. Employees should take breaks and walk around to break the motion. They should stretch all of their muscles and relax for a few minutes every hour. Employees should also use proper ergonomic equipment to keep their posture in line as well.

Falls from Heights
If employees work with a ladder on a daily basis or if they decide to randomly grab the ladder to reach something on a high shelf, there is a large risk for a fall. Falls can also occur from high areas like platforms and stairwells. You can work to prevent falls from heights by supplying shoes with traction, giving harnesses to employees regularly working on elevations and talking to employees about this type of safety. Safety guards can only go so far. Employees should all be properly trained about working at tall heights and take precautions themselves to know their surroundings.

Vehicle Accidents
Many employees use company vehicles on a daily basis. They may have a simple fender bender, but many times these types of accidents are more serious. Make sure each employee has extensive training in safe driving policies and procedures. You cannot be responsible for everyone on the road, but you can be a defensive driver yourself. Each vehicle should be up to code and always have regular maintenance.

Taking preventative measures is the first step to curbing workplace accidents. The basics are to train your employees on the latest safety measures and ensure the office is free of clutter.