Workplace injuries cost businesses and government establishments the world over $1 billion per week, according to EHS Today. Injury prevention is a serious matter in the workplace, even without factoring in the financial strain. Ensuring that every employee is safe and satisfied with working conditions is an essential part of making a healthy workplace. To better understand how to do this, one must first identify the most common sources of workplace injury.
Many jobs involve the usage of equipment and tools, and this leads to some injury. This can include being struck by work utensils, getting caught in machinery, or at the worst case, explosions. Such events cause upwards of 18,000 injuries per year in the United States. This can be due to lack of training by the employee or supervision on the part of the employer. However, even with skill and supervision, accidents can happen. So, rigid safety guidelines on equipment handling must be enforced to prevent the risk of injuries of this type
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Accounting for roughly 25% of all workplace injuries are slips, trips, and falls. These include falls on the same level and falls from a higher level. To a lesser extent, it also covers slipping and tripping without falling over. Such events can cause injuries as simple as an ankle sprain, but at the worst, paralysis is a possibility. Insurance claims for injuries caused by sudden slips and trips can reach $50,000 to add on top should you need to defend that claim. Thus, it is important to know how to prevent these risks as a top concern for businesses.
Common causes of slips and trips are poor lighting conditions and clutter that cuts down visibility and makes it harder to watch one’s step. Wet surfaces and loose floor covers are also likely culprits. Falls, on the other hand, can also cover falls from another level, usually due to falling down stairs. It can also happen from off of a scaffolding or poorly constructed floor. The latter most often happens with construction workers.
Overexertion and Repetitive Tasks
Finally, there are the injuries due to overexerting oneself and undertaking repetitive tasks. Injuries caused by this are almost always related to the wearing down of the body. They’re also damaging to the mental state, since they tend to put people in and out of stressful states of mind. Physical overexertion usually comes from heavy lifting and other physically taxing jobs. However, staring at a computer and sitting at a desk all day can weigh on a person just as heavily.
Responsible for over one-third of workplace injuries, overexertion and repetitive motions together account for more than $14 billion in treatment costs per year. More than the monetary loss, they also cause substantial damage to workplace productivity. Physical injuries can range from torn muscles and carpal tunnel to severe hamstring injuries. The mental toll is almost as serious, with 23% of all employees reporting that they feel burned out at work. From burnout, other mental and physical problems can arise, such as heart disease and depression.
Workplace injuries are huge sappers of time, money, and energy. However, knowing their most common causes is only half the battle of putting an end to the strain they cause.