Workplace injuries are a common occurrence.
American workers spend an average of 38.7 hours per week at work, and just about every job has some risk that comes along with it, especially jobs that include manual labor.
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that in 2021, there were:
- 2,607,900 total nonfatal injuries and illnesses
- 5,190 total fatal injuries
- 1,062,700 injuries that involved days away from work
What is a Workplace Injury and What Causes Them?
OSHA defines a workplace injury as â€śan abnormal condition or disorderâ€¦ including but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation.â€ť Workplace injuries can be caused by many things, especially if the job duties include inherently dangerous acts. However, workers at just about any job can be hurt at work.
According to the CDC, the three leading causes of work-related injuries are
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Bodily reaction and overexertion
- Falls, or slips and trips without a fall
So what can you do to effectively minimize the chance of sustaining an injury on the job? Hereâ€™s a list of five practices you can implement to help prevent workplace injuries.
- Attend Safety Protocol Meetings
Regularly attending safety protocol meetings can help you stay up to date on important safety information, such as best practices in operating equipment, or how to use a new tool or machinery. It also helps you to keep safety protocol fresh in your mind, so if you are ever in an emergency situation you can act quickly, safely, and efficiently.
- Report Safety Hazards to Management
If you notice something unsafe, say something.
Things like broken or malfunctioning equipment or water leaks can be dangerous and lead to several injuries, or even death. When you report unsafe circumstances to management, they should take it very seriously and rectify the situation quickly. You can be saving yourself and your fellow workers a headache by catching safety hazards before they create a problem.
- Always Wear Your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE isnâ€™t always just facemasks and gloves, while those are valuable pieces of protective equipment, especially for workers in the medical field, PPE can be any piece of equipment that a worker needs to safely execute their job.
Things like wearing non-slip shoes or steel toed boots, protective eyewear, or wearing a harness, are all forms of PPE meant to protect you from job associated risks.
- Slow Down and Pay Attention to the Task at Hand
Slowing down can be difficult when you are used to rushing through tasks, especially if you are held to tight deadlines. However, rushing through tasks is more often linked to injuries. When you slow down and pay close attention to what you are doing, you are less likely to hurt yourself or others.
This may seem counter productive, because slowing down equal less output, right? But in the long run, it can actually be beneficial to output because there will be less injuries and you can consistently produce, and produce well, whatever you are working on.
- Take Care of Yourself
This is the most important tip for minimizing your risk of workplace injury. Taking care of yourself means getting proper rest, making sure you fuel yourself with nutrient rich foods, and follow all the safety guidelines to the best of your knowledge and abilities.
Workplace injuries may be a common occurrence, but you can mitigate your risk of workplace injury by being proactive.
This blog was contributed to Workplace Fairness. Published with permission.
About the Author: Alana Redmond is a consumer safety writer for safer-america.com and advocate for workers rights and workplace fairness across the country.