In the U.S., getting a severe injury on the job is unfortunately common. In fact, American workers suffer injuries at their workplace every seven seconds. The best way to prevent injuries in the workplace is to understand what causes them to occur and what precautions you can take to ensure your safety.
According to the National Safety Council, the following are the major causes of injury in the workforce:
The number one cause of injury in the workplace is overexertion, which accounts for roughly one-third of injuries on the job. Repetitive motions or exerting too much force, such as by lifting or moving heavy objects, can result in an overexertion injury. To help avoid overexertion injuries, you can:
- Take frequent short breaks to regain your strength
- Avoid twisting, bending or reaching when lifting an object
2. Contact with objects or equipment
Heavy items and machinery pose a significant threat to workers – 26% of workplace injuries are from coming into contact with equipment. These injuries can include workers getting struck, caught in or crushed by a moving object, equipment or collapsing structure. When working with equipment and objects, you should:
- Always store heavy objects close to the ground
- Be mindful of moving objects or equipment in your workspace
- Wear the proper safety gear at all times
3. Slips, trips and falls
Falling at work – whether due to a slippery or uneven surface or falling from a great height – is the third most common cause of severe workplace injuries. Falls account for 25.8% of accidents on the job. To prevent a dangerous slip, trip or fall at work, be sure to:
- Maintain a clean, organized workspace
- Place the base of ladders on an even, stable surface
- Wear the appropriate safety equipment when working from heights
While workplace injuries are common, in many cases, they are also preventable. By taking the right preventative actions, you can ensure you don’t face the needless pain and expense of an injury at work.