We often try our best to be safe wherever we go, but as much as we try our best to protect ourselves from harm, accidents will happen, even at work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries took place in 2019.
While there are safety regulations in place to ensure that workers have a safe workplace, like Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unfortunately, workplace injuries are a significant problem for employers and employees. Employees that suffer an injury will often seek the advice of highly experienced injury lawyers since they are usually entitled to compensation. This compensation can come in the form of settlement, lost wages, or medical bills.
Workplace injuries could also result in employees leaving a job because they deem it unsafe for work, resulting in a high turnover and low employee morale. So, employers and employees need to understand what can cause an unsafe work environment. Here are ten of the top most common causes of workplace injuries:
1. Lifting Heavy Objects
Improper manual handling techniques can cause a lot of injuries, such as lower back pain, sprains, and strains. Using proper lifting techniques can help you avoid future harm, such as using both hands, keeping your back straight, and bending your knees. Also, avoid twisting at the waist or using one hand to lift heavy objects.
2. Walking & Climbing Stairs
Walking and climbing stairs are basic movements that we perform every day. However, injuries while walking or climbing stairs are some of the most common ones in the workplace. The difference in levels, uneven surfaces, and other hazards make it a risky activity. The most common incidents include falls from height, being hit by objects from above, and slipping on wet ground.
3. Reaching Above Your Head
Workers who reach above their heads in the workplace can be at risk for injury if working on a ladder, scaffolding, or other unstable surfaces. This puts them in a position where they are susceptible to injury. In addition, workers who reach above their heads often have no warning signs before they experience an injury because of how quickly it happens.
4. Standing for Too Long (Awkward Positions)
Standing for too long in an awkward position can cause injuries in the workplace. Standing in one position for a long time can lead to lower back pain, and it can be worsened by bad posture or sitting on hard surfaces. A few more risks associated with prolonged standing are leg cramps, varicose veins, and blood clots.
5. Using a Computer
The computer has become a tool of the modern workplace, but what you don’t know is that it may be the riskiest object in your office. There are many injuries that can happen while using a computer. They can range from carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and muscle strains to more severe issues like major back problems or repetitive stress injury.
6. Repetitive Motion
Repetitive motion injuries are among the most common in the workplace, and they usually occur to those who work in jobs that require a lot of typing or manual tasks. However, there are other types of movement that can be considered repetitive. This includes sitting for periods of time, using your mouse or keyboard in an awkward position, and holding heavy objects.
7. Carrying Objects
Carrying objects in the workplace is a common and necessary task. However, it can also be dangerous if improper safety measures are taken. One of the most common injuries from carrying a heavy object is back pain, which could progressively worsen, resulting in your inability to work.
8. Driving and Sitting in a Vehicle
Driving and sitting in a vehicle are health hazards that can have negative impacts on the body. For example, sitting in a vehicle for extended periods of time will cause pressure on your lower back. This is because your lumbar spine will compress and stretch when you are seated for long periods of time.
9. Working in Extreme Weather Conditions
Working in extreme weather conditions can take a toll on the body and cause serious health problems. Injuries that can be caused by working in these extreme conditions can include frostbite, heat exhaustion, and hypothermia.
10. Harsh Chemicals & Other Hazards
Some injuries can be caused by exposure to harsh chemicals, other hazardous substances, or extreme temperatures. These injuries range from short-term pain to long-term irreversible damage. Some of the common injuries that could happen due to these hazards include short-term illnesses and colds, coughs, bronchitis, asthma attacks, and chronic respiratory diseases. There is also a risk for more serious health effects like cancers as well as neurological disorders, skin diseases, and eye problems.
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