Top Causes of Work Related Injuries and Ways to Prevent Them
What are the top causes of work related injuries and ways to prevent them?
With the advent of technology, there has been a significant improvement in machinery, tools, and equipment used in industries. It has been a boon and a bane considering that they have eliminated or reduced the risk of many dangerous hazards. But at the same time, they have given rise to newer risks & dangers. Many nations have taken upon the task of increasing awareness & training related to safety. Why? It is done to reduce work related injuries.
Whenever there are work related injuries, there is always a loss. It might be the employee’s lost time, money in the form of workers’ compensation & healthcare bills, and the status of being a safe workplace. To ensure that the company’s reputation is intact and there is loss of time & money, reducing Work Related Injuries are the best bet. The best way is by identifying the top causes of Work Related Injuries & eliminating them. In this article, we will discuss the same method in detail.
Why do we need to reduce Work Related Injuries?
It is estimated that worldwide, there is a WRI reported every 7 seconds. It means by the time you have read here, approximately ten people have been injured at work. The extent of the injury may be a small scratch or a life-threatening scar. The estimated approximate cost incurred due to these injuries has been calculated at roughly a whopping $160 billion.
Industries are well aware of these losses, hence are actively trying to reduce WRI. Moreover, reducing WRI helps them to maintain their reputation as a safe workplace. In recent years, the number of WRI has been declining, but there’s always a scope for improvement. In this case, there’s a humongous crater to be filled. So, companies & organizations are investing in awareness & education related to safety, and one way is by identifying major causes for WRI.
Top causes of Work Related Injuries
Industries employ skilled professionals for their work, so it is obvious that they understand the hazards and try to keep away from them. If there are newbies, they stay vigilant and often are guided by their experienced peers to stay away from perils. Still, there are cases of unsafe acts. Why? In most cases, dangerous acts are done to reduce effort & time. It has been found in multiple surveys that the employees do so because of exertion from work or working long hours.
This cause is alone responsible for one-fifth of all WRIs. The WRIs may range from tripping to wrist injuries. There is a popular misconception that employees involved in heavy physical labor & work are the only victims of exertion, but it is false. One of the most common WRI is stress injuries in the wrist & hands due to repetitive & heavy usage of laptops & computers.
Interaction with surfaces, materials, tools, or equipment
In industries, employees often have to deal with various surroundings. They come in contact with materials, surfaces, tools, and equipment. The interaction with them is the reason for nearly 50% of WRIs. The interaction can be of any type. Either the object can be moving, or the employee can bump into a stationary object. Moreover, getting thrown, stuck, or pulled into the equipment or tool is another type of interaction. A few more examples can be the vibration impact of the tools & equipment or injuries due to friction between employee & surface (or instrument or equipment).
Falling from heights, confined space work & tripping
Injuries due to height work, confined space work, and slippery surfaces contribute to another one-fifth of WRIs. These are due to the imperfect grip of shoes, slippery surfaces, dehydration, vertigo & suffocation of the worker, and many others.
Other issues that cause WRIs improper handling of equipment, tools, and materials due to lack of knowledge, natural calamities, workplace violence, vehicular accidents, fire, electric shocks, and many others.
Ways to prevent the work related injuries
Reduce exertion & stress -
Companies should note that asking their employees to work extra hours can take a grave toll on their health. Reducing overtime, preferably to zero overtime should be ensured. Many companies have recommended their employees have short breaks to help them relax & rejuvenate. These short breaks may range from 2 to 10 minutes, where simple exercises like standing, walking, stretching, and many others can be done. Many companies recommend & insist their employees practice Yoga or regularly hit the gym. Frequent medical check-ups help in identifying & monitoring physical & mental health issues.
Wear proper PPE -
PPE is the last, vital, and mandatory defensive barrier that every employee should wear while working in the industry. If you’re curious to know more about PPE, then check out our article on PPE. The piece provides details on the importance of PPE & how it protects you from adversaries.
Hence, many companies state mandatory PPE & job-specific PPE. Remember, if PPE is uncomfortable, ensure that you get it replaced with a newer one. PPE should be well-maintained without any wear & tear.
Stay vigilant & aware of the workplace -
The best way to avoid WRIs is by being aware of the hazards at the workplace. Companies & organizations should ensure that the employees are well-aware of all the conditions & perils at the workplace by arranging training & awareness sessions.
Special care during height work & confined space work -
During height work, special care must be taken for scaffolding & ladders. Especially, ladders should be placed on non-slip solid even surfaces. While climbing on scaffolding, one must ensure a safety harness is always donned, which helps in case of a fall from height. Employees should ensure that the surfaces are dry & non-slippery. Good housekeeping practices always aid safety, so ensure that they are performed regularly. During confined space work, always ensure that there is enough oxygen & ventilation.
Curious ones can check out our article on industrial PPE.
Work related injuries can occur due to either unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. Depending upon the severity of risks & jeopardies, the extent of WRIs may vary, but with proper awareness & care, they can be easily averted. According to statistics, nearly 85% of WRIs are due to the top three causes mentioned in the blog. Focusing on these three would help to drastically reduce the work related injuries & mishaps.
The responsibility of keeping the workplace safe is a joint collaborative effort between the employer & employees. The employer should strive to keep their employees aware of hazards & risks and train them related to subsequent safe practices. Employees must also adhere to the guidelines laid down by the employer to ensure the smooth working of safe conditions. Their behavior must lead to safer acts & reduce the number of unsafe acts.