6 Common Workplace Injuries and How You Can Mitigate Them

Employees face a variety of threats to their safety across different industries and roles. The types of workplace injuries below have challenged OH&S Managers around the world and in a variety of industries and roles:

Workplace Injuries

Slips, Trips, and Falls

The National Safety Council of the United States of America reported 27,500 deaths due to slips, trips, and falls in 2010 (a 6% increase from 2010). Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries & death and are a risk for many businesses. The conditions that increase the risk of a slip, trip, or fall can include spills, weather, poor flooring materials, and cluttered walkways. To help reduce the risk of an employee suffering from a slip, trip, or fall, we recommend you read 6 Tips to Reduce Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace and 6 Tips for Dealing with Black Ice

Example Industries: Building maintenance services, restaurants, utility companies, public services, energy, construction, and manufacturing

Workplace Violence

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive reported that between 2006 and 2007, there were 288,000 assaults and 397,000 situations in which threats were uttered. Employees that work in isolated areas of during evening hours may be at risk of facing workplace violence.

  • Develop a Zero Tolerance Policy covering employees, visitors, clients, patients, contractors, or any other person that may interact with your business
  • Install engineering controls to reduce or eliminate the possibility of workplace violence such as:
    • Cameras
    • Improved lighting
    • Access controls (Security badges, keys, etc.)
    • Install protective barriers
    • Alarm systems
    • Ensure that locations where employees work can be easily seen by others
  • Equip employees with safety monitoring devices like the Loner FDU
  • Provide employees with training on avoiding workplace violence
  • Provide a drop safe to reduce the amount of cash employees keep on hand

Example Industries: Retail, financial, public transportation, security guards, and public safety

Lifting and Bending

Improper lifting or bending can result in back and muscle injuries. An injury to your back can occur regardless of the amount of weight being lifted if proper lifting techniques are not used. Reducing the risk of back injuries can be done by reducing the distance and level of exertion required to lift and manipulate objects – especially large or heavy objects. Heavy lifting should be performed at waist level to avoid unnecessary bending or hyper-extension.

Example Industries: Manufacturing, warehousing, retail, restaurants, logistics & transportation, utilities, and construction

Collisions

Vehicular collisions are a leading cause of occupational injury and death. The Drive Safely Work Week campaign by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety has outlined four methods to reduce the risk of having a vehicular collision while working:

  • Regular vision screenings
  • Being well-rested and properly fueled
  • Having all vehicle preventative maintenance performed
  • Ensuring that all settings in your vehicle are configured to provide the greatest line of sight and that the vehicle is a good fit for the driver to maximize energy

Example Industries: Utilities, public services, logistics & transportation, energy, manufacturing, and construction

Heart Attack

With an aging workforce, the risk of a heart attack has increased in the last decade. Please read Seven Tips to Prevent Heart Attack in the Workplace for a variety ways to help mitigate your employee’s risk of suffering a heart attack.

Example Industries:  All Industries

Exhaustion and Fatigue

Exhaustion and fatigue in the workplace can reduce productivity, reduce moral, and can have additional health implications further down the road. Possible causes of workplace fatigue include lack of sleep (for a variety of reasons), excessive stress, poor quality of sleep, too few days off, and irregular sleeping patterns (such as when performing shift work.

Luckily, steps can be taken to reduce fatigue and exhaustion in the workplace. For employers:

  • Examine scheduling to determine if certain employees may be overworked or are not given sufficient rest-time between shifts
  • Improve regularity of shifts (if applicable)
  • Ensure that employees are taking sufficient breaks during work
  • Provide employees with at least two consecutive days off in which to recover from any sleep deficit that may have accrued

For Employees:

  • Ensure that you are getting to bed at a consistent time and getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Avoid caffeine before bed and do not eat before bed
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce the time spent on your commute if possible
  • Get enough exercise each day
  • Perform stretching exercises to relax your muscles
  • Alternate work tasks to stimulate your mind and keep yourself engaged
  • Take your breaks

Example Industries: Construction, manufacturing, logistics & transportation, sedentary work (aka “desk jobs”)

These workplace injuries can be reduced, mitigated, or eliminated with a real commitment to improving the conditions of employees on the job. While the tips above are an excellent start, there are certainly other methods out there that might be effective as well. Feel free to share your own tips and tricks for reducing workplace injuries in the comment box below!

Get the Latest Direct to Your Inbox!