People spend most of their days at work. Over time, it could seem like most of a person’s life is spent at work. Yet, even when this is the case, workplaces still seem to be unsafe for the regular worker.
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), around 2.5 million workers suffered from work-relation injuries that required emergency treatment in 2018. The top causes of injuries were the following:
- Overexertion and bodily reaction
- Falls, slips, trips
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Transportation incidents
- Violence and injuries caused by persons or animals
- Exposure to substances and environmental factors
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), also called ergonomic injuries, are prevalent in the workplace as well. This type of injury happens due to repetitive actions that do not involve comfortable conditions. The most common MSDs are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, lower back injuries, and tennis elbow. In 2018, ergonomic injuries accounted for 900,380 days away from work cases.
Because prevention is better than cure, workplaces should work towards making the surroundings safer for every employee. Whether it’s a high-risk job or a desk job, employees should be free from accidents as much as possible. Here are ways to prevent injuries in the workplace:
1. Inspect Equipment, Vehicles, and Other Objects
Being diligent with checking the state of objects in the workplace is crucial in preventing accidents. Routine checkups with heavy and hazardous equipment should be in place without fail. Otherwise, they could be prone to malfunction. Brakes, fluids, water, oils—these should be checked before getting any vehicle on the road.
Simple everyday items at work should be regularly replaced as well. For example, an old and overfilled shelve could give in and hit somebody. Even though these kinds of accidents may or may not happen, they still contribute to the workplace being unsafe.
2. Impose Safety Measures
Small changes around the office add up in making the workplace safe. Adding rubber surfaces on slippery areas prevents slips. Making a step a different color prevents a person from tripping. It’s the little things like these that reduce the chances of the most common injuries.
3. Keep the Workplace Clean and Organized
The thing about accidents and injuries is that a lot of them are easily avoidable. A misplaced ream of bond paper on the floor could cause an employee to trip and sprain their ankle. A puddle on the floor can cause someone to slip, resulting in a hip injury. By keeping the workplace clean and organized, the company can avoid untoward incidents.
4. Invest in Ergonomics
Companies may be apprehensive to invest in ergonomics, as it tends to be expensive. Ergonomics is the study that applies several fields of sciences to ensure that objects are comfortable to use. Nowadays, there has been so much focus on ergonomics because of the work-from-home setup and rising cases of MSDs. Companies should be more mindful of ergonomics, as employees spend most of their days doing repetitive actions around the office. Examples of ergonomic items to invest in are adjustable desks and chairs, pillows on the lower back, and elevated monitors.
5. Wellness Plans and Coverage
Accidents can happen anytime. Both the employees and the companies need to be ready when these things happen. Therefore, companies should have a plan in order to compensate an injured employee. The following are examples of injury compensations or benefits:
- Income benefits to compensate an employee who misses work because of an injury.
- Medical and rehabilitation costs for medical care of injured employees
- Funeral expenses and death benefits for more severe cases.
Employees who feel like they have not been compensated fairly can ask a personal injury lawyer if their claim can prosper. A lawyer can help them reach a settlement with the company.
The Benefits of a Safe Workplace
A safe workplace benefits the company and the employees. When the company invests in a safe workplace, an employee can go to work healthy and productive. Employees don’t have to miss work because of an injury. At the same time, the company will not have to shed a huge amount of money to cover the expenses of a workplace injury.
More importantly, keeping a safe workplace is a sign that a company cares for its employees’ well-being. As a result, employees are happier, and they tend to be more loyal to the company.
The Key Takeaways
Workplace injury is a common occurrence. The only way to get around it is to create a safe working environment. Making little changes around the workplace prevents the most common type of injuries which are slips and trips. Ergonomics, benefits and compensation, and regular inspections should also be in place.