Unfortunately, injuries and accidents are not always a rare occurrence in the workplace. When we think of workplace injuries and accidents more often than not we tend to think of accidents causing casualties and fatalities. While many workplace accidents and injuries can be fatal, occasionally there are accidents that don’t result in a serious casualty or fatality.
Some common accidents and injuries that can occur in the workplace include Strains (Muscle & Repetitive), Cuts and Lacerations, Falling Objects, Loud Noises, Slips/Trips/Falls and Walking into Objects.
Strains (Muscle & Repetitive)
Regularly lifting heavy items at work can put a strain on your muscles, particularly the back and neck. Using the correct lifting techniques and mechanical aids for lifting heavy items can reduce the chances of causing muscle sprains. For tips on safe manual handling techniques, check out our blog post here.
Another type of strain that can become a problem in the workplace is Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). An RSI is an overuse injury, usually caused by the repeated motions and movements over time. The inflammation and damage as a result of RSI can impact the muscles, nerves and tendons. Repetitive Strain Injuries can be isolated, affecting only a specific area, however in some cases they can spread often being diagnosed as chronic pain syndrome. Due to the nature of RSI, it is best to take preventative measures like using aids and taking regular breaks to avoid the repetitive and unnecessary strain on the body.
Cuts and Lacerations
Cuts and lacerations can happen in any workplace; be it a papercut in an office to a laceration caused by tools or equipment at a construction site. More often than not, the main reasons why an injury like this occurs in workplace is a lack of training, failure to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and in some cases poor safety procedures in place. Accidents and injuries resulting in cuts or lacerations need to be treated immediately as they can create another hazard in the workplace, exposure to blood/blood-borne viruses.
Preventative measures that can be taken to avoid cuts and lacerations happening in the workplace include ensuring all staff have adequate training, having sufficient safety procedures and guidelines are in place, and ensuring staff have and wear the correct PPE.
The warehousing and constructions industries are no doubt the first that come to mind when thinking of accidents caused by falling objects. While these industries have a higher rate of accidents in the workplace, it is not uncommon for workers in other industries and environments to be injured due to falling objects. Objects can be prone to falling from a vast number of things in a wide variety of industries and environments. Items can fall from a height in a warehouse off the racking system or forklift, off displays in retail stores, or off cabinets and shelving in an office; to list a few.
Objects falling from any height can cause horrendous injuries. Generally the heavier the object and/or the higher the object has fallen from will lead to a more serious injury, and in some cases, even death. Having a suitable storage system in place, adhering to the safety guidelines including safe working loads, training staff, and ensuring that items are stored correctly can reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries occurring from falling objects.
Loud noises from machinery and equipment in the workplace can, over time, lead to worker’s suffering from industrial deafness. Industrial deafness is the loss of hearing as a by-product of a individual’s working environment. Hearing loss can be temporary, however if precaution is not taken hearing loss can become permanent.
Safety measures should be taken to reduce the noise within the workplace. If a reduction in noise levels is not possible, it becomes essential that protective equipment is worn by all workers exposed to the loud noise levels. Often ear plugs or ear muffs are used to reduce the noise level for workers, it is important that they are worn correctly at all times when exposed to loud noises.
Slips, trips and falls can happen to anyone in any industry. It is likely that at some point workers will encounter a slippery or uneven surface in their work environment. In most cases, a slip or tripping over will usually result in some bruising and acute pain (usually throbbing or an ache that will dull unless agitated). Falls can also result in the same injuries, some bruising and acute pain. However falling from a height (i.e. a ladder, a flight of stairs, platforms, lifters) can have much more serious consequences, such as broken bones and even death.
The best way to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls occurring in the workplace include staff training, ensuring there is adequate signage if it is known that a surface is slippery or uneven, taking precautions and having safety procedures in place for working at heights.
Walking into Objects
We’ve all walked into something at some point in our lives, like a door or the wall for example. There are a few reasons this could have happened. Maybe you weren’t paying attention or are just feeling unwell. It happens, we’ve all been there, and more often than not, we feel the sudden jolt back to our surroundings when that initial contact is made with something solid (i.e. desk or equipment). More often than not its the twinge of embarrassment that lingers as opposed to an injury.
Walking into objects in the workplace usually results in some minor aches and pains and the occasional bruise. Keeping walkways clear and encouraging staff to be vigilant can, in most cases, prevent these accidents from occurring.