Did you know that every seven seconds, someone suffers a workplace injury? The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that because of workplace injuries, 104 million production days were lost in 2017. I was intrigued to learn more about workplace injuries after reading that corporate worries over efficiency make work much more dangerous during the holidays, as people rush and safety regulations are overlooked.
With so many employees getting injured so often, you’d think that we would hear more about workplace safety. I think the reason why we don’t is pretty obvious: companies don’t want to talk about unsafe work conditions, and employees don’t want to bring up accidents that may be embarrassing or painful, especially if their injuries put them out of work for long enough that they lost income over it.
Still, workplace safety is important, and workplace injuries aren’t always the debilitating broken bones or concussions that we always think about. Many people also suffer from soreness, minor cuts, and scrapes, and strains on tendons and muscles every day. Even people with desk jobs can be injured while working, and these injuries can have negative effects on their ability to perform the duties of their job.
Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
According to the NSC, these are the most common reasons why people become injured and miss work:
- Everyone has probably had days where they’ve overworked themselves. People who have repetitive jobs, such as sorting, working machinery, or carrying heavy loads are especially susceptible to overexertion. Continuously lifting or bending can cause severe strain on the body, which can lead to an ability to work or even get out of bed the next day. Over 33% of workplace injuries are due to overexertion.
- “Contact With Objects and Equipment”
- This refers to events where workers are caught by machinery, hit by equipment or tools, crushed by boxes, etc. To help avoid this, heavy materials should be stowed away on the floor or close to the floor. It’s also a good idea to have someone else spot you if you’re carrying something up and down a ladder or holding something above your head.
- “Slips, Trips, and Falls”
- Falling off a ladder or a platform, slipping on a slick floor, or tripping over equipment or stock are all examples of this. It’s best to keep storerooms neat and tidy to avoid tripping over items, and wet surfaces should always be cleaned as soon as possible. People can easily break bones, cut themselves, or suffer head trauma from slipping and falling at work.
While I was doing research on this topic, I found out that there is a company called WorkSTEPS, Inc. that does employment testing to make sure that people are well-suited to the demands of a certain job, including physical demands. They offer safety and health services to employers so that people can stay safe on the job. Hopefully, this kind of thinking can prevent so many people from getting injured while they’re working.