Everybody has to deal with hardships that come with most jobs. Burnout, not enough vacation time, or friction between coworkers are all facts of professional life. However, nobody wakes up and expects to get injured at work that day.
Unfortunately, injuries are more common than you may think. In fact, private employers reported approximately 2.8 million workplace injuries in 2017 alone.
There are, of course, things that can be used to deal with the pain caused by a workplace injury (for example, take a read of the 30 ways to relieve pain naturally here). But if you can avoid the pain in the first place, then that is obviously the best course of action. The best way to avoid work-related injuries to understand which types are the most common for your industry. To help educate you, we’re going over five types of workplace injuries you may encounter during your career.
1. Repetitive Motion Injuries
This type of injury is sometimes hard to identify. It can also affect people in all types of job roles, from office work to factory assembly.
Repetitive motion injuries result when a person must perform the same task over and over throughout their shift. Eventually, deterioration occurs.
An employee can suffer from a repetitive motion injury as a result of lifting objects, remaining on their feet all day, or typing. Even sitting for too long can lead to workplace injury.
Problems can include back issues, joint issues, carpal tunnel, or vision problems. These injuries can sneak up on an employee and cause them to have to miss work or seek medical treatment.
Many businesses are now integrating ergonomic equipment into the workplace to prevent repetitive stress injuries. This equipment includes ergonomic chairs, standing desks, special keyboards, or back supports.
It’s also important for employees to take regular breaks during their shifts. Even short breaks can help reduce the chance of repetitive stress injuries.
2. Slip and Falls
In workspaces with hazardous footing, slip and fall accidents are bound to happen. This may include construction sites, kitchens, or retail settings.
Many of these accidents occur when surfaces are often wet or oily. Employees have to take proper precautions and make sure to wear the right shoes.
In cluttered environments like construction sites, uneven surfaces or poor lighting may cause an employee to lose their footing. Unfortunately, many of these accidents don’t end well.
When a slip and fall occurs, a broad range of injuries can result. A person may sustain anything from sprained ankles to serious head injuries. Broken bones or major cuts can occur as well.
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees. In places like kitchens or warehouses, the use of proper warning signs is a necessity. Construction workers must also go through the right safety training to avoid injury.
If a slip and fall occurs due to the negligence of a business owner or other employee, a worker may have a right to seek compensation. They’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney to evaluate their case.
3. Vehicle Accidents
For workers who frequently operate semi-trucks, taxis, or any type of motor vehicle, auto accidents are always a threat. This is why these jobs often require extensive safety training and a specialized license.
Operators of semi-trucks must take extra precautions. Due to the frequency of highway driving and the heavy weight of eighteen-wheelers, accidents can result in serious injury.
This risk gets amplified when drivers must work long hours. Exhaustion can greatly reduce a person’s reaction time, which is dangerous when driving at highway speeds.
Drivers of smaller vehicles are also at risk of neck injuries, broken bones, or head trauma. This is why companies must carry adequate insurance for their employees.
It’s important all drivers wear seat belts and employ defensive driving techniques. Businesses must also take measures to ensure their vehicles are properly maintained.
Background checks are a must for driving jobs. Ensuring employees have a clean driving record helps protect them and other drivers on the road.
4. Strained Muscles
People who regularly bend and lift heavy items are at high risk of strained muscles. This is a common injury in the warehouse, moving, or construction industries.
Neck and back strains pose the biggest threat. Sustaining this type of injury can lead to mobility issues and intense pain. When this occurs, an employee will need to take time off to recover.
Muscles strains can often start small and get worse if an employee continues performing the same task. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment at the first sign of a strain.
Employees who must bend, lift, and carry objects on a regular basis need to use correct lifting techniques. This includes using the legs instead of the back. Braces can provide added back support.
It’s also important for employees to avoid overworking their muscles. To help prevent injuries, most companies that require heavy lifting put a cap on the number of hours an employee can work. Employees can also help reduce the chance of a strain by performing stretching exercises before and after their shifts.
5. Machine-Related Injuries
Work environments that require the use of machinery pose an added danger to employees. This could include everything from a kitchen to a manufacturing facility.
When workers have to use machinery as part of their job, they must remain very diligent. It only takes a fraction of a second for a distraction to lead to serious injury.
Depending on the type of machinery, injuries could include cuts, fractures, or burns. In extreme cases, a machine-related injury could lead to the loss of a limb or even death.
Employees using a machine must go through proper operation and safety training. It’s also important for businesses to ensure their workspaces are clean and that warning signs are in use around dangerous machines.
Workers should avoid wearing loose clothing while working with machines. Many injuries occur when an employee’s hand or arm gets caught. Wearing form-fitting clothes is a good way to prevent this.
Take Steps to Avoid These Work-Related Injuries
A job-related injury has the potential to put you out of work or even compromise the future of your career. The best way you can prevent this is by engaging in workplace safety practices on a daily basis.
It also helps to educate yourself on the most common work-related injuries discussed above so you know what risks to keep an eye out for.
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