If you’ve ever suffered from a workplace injury, you are not alone. From broken bones to back pain, workplace injuries happen every day. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds.
To put it in a more positive perspective, most common work-related injuries and fatality rates have decreased thanks to an increase in workplace health and safety measures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), daily occupational fatalities have gone down from 38 a day in 1970 to 15 a day in 2019 — but there is still a lot of work to do to get that number down to zero.
Here are some of the most common work-related injuries and tips on how to prevent them.
Slips, trips, and falls
The No. 1 cause of worker’s compensation claims? Slips, trips, and falls.
This includes workers who:
- Slipped on an icy, oily, or wet floor
- Tripped due to unprotected sides or holes, poor lighting, or clutter
- Fell off ladders, roofs, or skyscraper construction areas
These types of injuries are usually very preventable. Make sure to follow OSHA’s fall protection requirements to keep yourself safe.
And as a general rule, keep a close eye on your surroundings when you’re on the job. Slips often happen when workers are in a hurry and don’t see a spill or hole.
Overexertion and muscle strains
Overexertion injuries like muscle strains and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) can cause long-term debilitating pain and lead to an overall loss in productivity. This type of occupational injury can be caused by:
- Improper lifting technique
- Manually lifting heavy objects
- Repetitive work with no breaks
- Jumping to another level
- A collapsing structure
- Lifting, pushing, carrying, or throwing
- Microtasks on a factory line
- Typing or moving a mouse without good ergonomics
Your employer should have required training on how to perform physical tasks correctly and taught you how to prevent muscle strains. In the case that they didn’t, check out OSHA’s ergonomics training.
To avoid overexertion and reduce your risk for lasting physical harm, make sure to take frequent breaks and use that time to rest and stretch. Also remember to utilize mechanical lifting equipment to lift anything over 50 pounds.
Struck by workers, equipment, or falling objects
We’ve all walked into the sharp edge of a counter or turned into a wall and felt how unpleasant it is. But when you’re working in a high-risk industry, these injuries can be far more serious. These types of injuries can include severe hand injuries, severed limbs or fingers, traumatic head injuries, stress fractures or full bone breaks, blindness, and more.
These injuries are commonly caused by:
- Poorly guarded machinery
- Falling tools, debris, or materials
- A part of the worker’s body being caught in a wire or gears
- Dropped loads
- Pressure between the person and the source of the injury
- The tipping over of heavy equipment
- Excessive vibration
- Bumping into an object or equipment
- Being pushed into a hard surface of any kind
- Walking into walls or machinery
Like many workplace accidents, these can be prevented by staying aware of your surroundings, following established policies and procedures, using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), avoiding loose clothing, and putting away unnecessary hazards.
Crashes or collisions
Whether you’re driving a motor vehicle or are working around them, you’re at risk of getting hurt in a crash or collision. For example, if you’re working on the ground in a warehouse, you could be hit or run over by a forklift.
Other instances resulting in a crash or collision could include:
- Falling from a vehicle
- Getting stuck under an overturned vehicle
- Large-truck drivers drinking and driving
- Being struck by objects falling from a vehicle
- Semi, tractor-trailer, and tanker truck crashes
When operating any type of motorized vehicle, wear your seat belt and take the proper safety measures established by your employer.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments
Those who work in loud environments or around hazardous chemicals risk injuries to their ears, eyes, skin, and respiratory systems if exposed without proper protection.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with any chemical safety data sheets and wear proper ear protection, safety goggles, gloves, and any other required PPE when exposed to harmful substances or loud noises.
If you’re injured, don’t wait!
If you experience any type of workplace injury, don’t wait to seek medical attention. Even if it seems small, these types of injuries can progress over time and cause serious complications later on.
StarMed Healthcare clinics are open 7 days a week to provide treatment and care for any workplace-related injuries. Click here to find the closest location to you.
StarMed Healthcare for Business
If you’re an employer and want to prevent workplace injuries and get injured employees treated with care, consider StarMed Healthcare for Business.
StarMed Healthcare for Business offers practical business healthcare solutions that reduce costs for employers without compromising patient care. We offer short clinic wait times, bilingual services onsite and in the clinic, and treat each patient with care and compassion.
Through services like workers’ comp, DOT screening, medical testing, wellness checks, and more, we’re committed to keeping your employees well and keeping your costs minimal.
Click here to learn more.