The most common workplace injury is overexertion-related injuries. These injuries represent 35% of all workplace accidents, and many of them are preventable. Overexertion injuries are costing workers’ compensation more than $15 billion per year. Yet still, companies are not doing nearly enough to improve conditions for workers.
When employees are not given the proper training or safety equipment or they are overworked and understaffed, it can lead to overexertion injuries. The main causes of overexertion on the job include:
- Pulling with too much force
- Carrying or holding heavy objects
- Pushing with too much force
- Unsafe lifting practices
- Throwing heavy objects
On top of causing injuries, overexertion is the main cause of missed workdays. Taking steps to prevent overexertion could make companies more productive and save them money.
How Workplace Injuries Happen
The first step in understanding how to avoid workplace injuries is understanding how and why they happen. The following are five of the most common type of workplace injury and fatality accidents.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slipping, tripping, and falling on the job sends thousands of American workers to the emergency room each year. These accidents happen in blue-collar and white-collar workplaces. One of the most common injuries in this category is falls from ladders. Construction workers often fall from ladders and from scaffolding, leading to many fatalities.
Fire and Explosions
If you don’t follow the government-mandated safety guidelines, you could end up losing employees or losing your own life in a fire or an explosion. This class of injuries has the highest fatality rate. Deaths and injuries can be caused by burns, being thrown into the air and hitting the ground, inhaling smoke or toxins, or being struck by forcefully flying objects.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Engaging in activities like typing or swiping items across a scanner for eight hours a day can lead to a repetitive strain injury. RSIs are common in the wrists, but they can happen in any of the joints in your body that you strain repeatedly. These injuries are the result of constant strain on the muscles and tendons, particularly in workers who don’t get frequent breaks.
If you have company cars, delivery trucks, or semi-trucks at your company, you are at risk for vehicle accidents on the job. These accidents can injure or kill workers and other involved parties, including pedestrians. Employees can also fall from vehicles or be crushed by their cargo. There have also been cases where employees were struck by company vehicles.
If you’ve been hurt while on the job, you can click here to contact a personal injury lawyer in all 50 states. If you are a business owner or manager and one of your employees has been injured, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim.
How to Avoid Workplace Injuries
The first step in improving your workplace’s safety is to make sure you provide adequate training to all employees. You should also make sure they have adequate personal protective equipment. Conduct risk assessments regularly to see if there are any issues you need to address.
You can also improve workplace safety by making sure your machines and gear are in excellent working shape. Failure to maintain company vehicles, farm equipment, or construction machines could be deadly. You may want to consider creating a maintenance schedule and appointing someone to make sure it is followed.
Workers, you can contribute to workplace safety by following the rules and regulations, using equipment properly, and reporting any hazards you see. If employers and employees work together to make safety a priority, billions of dollars and thousands of lives could be saved.