What Are the Causes of Workplace Injuries?
Every day, workers around the world are exposed to different hazards, each of which can cause an accident, injury or even death.
Workers can not only suffer physical injuries, but they can also suffer mental and emotional stress as a result of conditions within the workplace.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are the most common causes of injuries in the workplace. An article on the Safe Workers website advises that a wet restroom floor is a hazardous and dangerous area, and employees can easily slip. Files, boxes and other obstructions lying on the floor can also present a trip hazard. Such falls can cause head injuries and broken bones.
Lifting heavy or awkward loads can often cause back pain. In severe cases, the pain and injury can decrease the victim’s ability to work properly and therefore lower productivity. Employers should teach workers in their companies how to lift a heavy load properly and safely, or break the load into smaller and more manageable parts.
For those working on construction sites or in factories, the risk of injury from heavy machinery is a severe and often fatal one. All site staff and factory workers must undergo thorough training so they know how to safely navigate around their place of work, minimizing the risk of being struck, crushed or hit by heavy machinery.
Objects that fall from a scaffold on a construction site, for example, or objects an employee typically throws to someone else, such as a stapler or hole punch, can also cause extensive damage if the object strikes another worker anywhere on the body, especially on the head.
Never throw or drop objects, and if you are passing an item to someone else, make sure you hand carry it.
Those working in the vicinity of live wiring, whether it be underground cables or plug sockets in an office, must be aware that electrocution can cause severe burns and even death.
Employees should ensure that all electrical equipment is safe by asking an electrician to test it regularly and taking steps to cut off electricity where possible, such as switching off a plug socket or disabling electrical current in a particular place if someone on staff is performing a task that involves handling the wiring.
Employees who have too high a workload or are deeply unhappy with their job can fall victim to stress. This is a severe condition that can restrict an employee’s productivity and lead to mental problems, such as nervous breakdowns.
Employers should always closely observe the mental health of their staff and take steps to reduce pressure, such as delegating tasks to others as needed.
Employers should also ensure that their team members take regular breaks to avoid overworking, or redistribute the workload to ensure everyone has an equal amount of work. Some companies may even offer counseling for those under severe stress.
Workplace bullying, whether physical or verbal, can damage an employee’s mental and emotional health. Victims of bullying will often not want to inform their superiors because they’re afraid the “bully” will take revenge. As a result, these employees suffer in silence. Employers must closely watch their staff and take disciplinary action against any co-worker who bullies another in the workplace.
Poorly Designed Workstations
Poorly designed workstations can cause musculoskeletal injuries, as an employee has to adopt a poor posture to be able to work. An ergonomically designed workstation, with an adjustable-height chair, located in a place where sunlight will not reflect off the monitor and cause eyestrain, can help reduce these injuries.
An article on the You Claim website also states that Repetitive Strain Injury affects those who “repetitively use their hands and arms for much of the day, such as typists, factory workers and drivers.”