Even if you do not consider your workplace to be dangerous, familiarizing yourself with common workplace injuries is a valuable exercise.
Similar to how the majority of car accidents occur within a few miles of people’s homes, accidents can happen in the most unassuming, seemingly non-hazardous workplaces.
The last thing you want as a leader is to deal with lawsuits, workers’ compensation claims, and lost productivity as a result of an avoidable injury in the workplace.
Understanding the main causes of common injuries can help you spot potential risks and prevent accidents altogether, saving you time, stress, money, and even the risk of an injury yourself.
In this article, you’ll discover workplace injury statistics, common types of workplace accidents, and four tips you can use to best prevent injuries in your workplace.
4 Steps to Preventing Workplace Injuries
- Communicate hazards
- Enforce proper attire
- Keep the space orderly
- Generate awareness
The Most Common Workplace Injuries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017. Considering there were 125 million full-time workers in 2017, this means that nearly 0.7% of full-time employees were injured in 2017.
Source: Housecall Pro
Of those injury cases, data indicated that:
- 11% of injuries involved overexertion from lifting or lowering
- 64% of bone fractures resulted from accidents in the service-providing industries
- 26% of bone fractures result from accidents in the trade, transportation, and utility industries
- 62% of slips, trips, and falls occurred on the same level
- 20% of slips, trips, and falls involved a worker falling between two or more levels
- 15% of all non-fatal workplace injuries involved workers being struck by objects or equipment while on the job
- 35% of cases across all industries were sprains, strains, and tears
This data also showed that, across all industries, more than 25% of injuries were caused by slips, trips, and falls.
Source: Housecall Pro
Whether you work in an environment known for increased levels of risk, such as a construction site, or in an unassuming restaurant or office building, slips and falls are going to happen.
Four Steps to Prevent Workplace Injuries
While workplace accidents are impossible to eliminate entirely, there are a number of data-driven steps you can use to successfully prevent the majority of accidents.
Source: Housecall Pro
Consider applying the following tips to keep your employees and job site safe and secure.
1. Communicate Hazards
Posting adequate signage that clearly marks any obstacles must be a high priority. For example, clearly marking spills and dangerous machinery can decrease both falling and pinching incidents.
Specifically, for machinery, ensuring that all tools necessary for operation are accounted for is vital. Installing proper lighting can make certain that your job site is easy to navigate and remain safe in.
2. Enforce Proper Attire
Mandating employees to wear slip-resistant footwear, hardhats, and warm clothing are effective steps in the fight against workplace injuries.
Personal protective and life-saving equipment, including eye and face protection, are also powerful tools.
3. Keep the Space Orderly
Connected to communicating hazards, containing spills quickly is a must-do. This requires having proper clean-up equipment readily accessible on site, as well as routinely checking for spills.
A clean space can prevent accidents.
4. Generate Awareness
Educating employees about how to move through the workday and space safely is paramount. The system doesn’t have to be extensive, though that wouldn’t hurt either.
Simple briefings at the start of the workweek (in the form of a standup) allow managers to relay known hazards and best practices to their teams.
Education won’t only benefit employees, though. It also has advantages for managers, some of whom may not be trained in how to communicate with employees about workplace safety.
Training for managers can focus on identifying ways to encourage employees to report accidents and ‘near-misses,’ which are often ignored. These sessions are also a good time to highlight incident investigation skills and proper reporting procedures.
Make Your Workplace Safer
Now, with an enhanced understanding of the most common workplace accidents, you’re aware of the risks that your business faces in the day-to-day environment.
And, with the above tips for accident prevention, you can proactively put a safety plan in place that effectively prevents accidents and keeps your employees safe on the job.
No program is perfect right out of the gate, so understand that there will always be room to improve your company’s safety plan.
As long as you offer opportunities for employees to communicate their opinions, consider them carefully, and dedicate time to implementing effective fixes, you’re on the right path.