We often take the workplace to be a serene environment characterized by decorum and organization, and since it’s devoid of kids and their shenanigans, we assume it to be one of the safest places to be as we navigate through daily life. However, that’s often not the case as there are about 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries/illnesses according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019) and if these stats are anything to go by, then we need to be more careful and graceful around our seemingly harmless work spaces.
We know work can be stressful enough as it is, and we your pals at The Calgary Family Clinic wouldn’t want you to compound it with a broken hip incurred from operating the copier. As absurd as it sounds, there are a range of calamities that could occur at the office, and we’re here to alert you on the most common ones to look out for;
Crashes and collisions
Accidents resulting in crash or impact injuries are also quite frequent at work. Whether they involve cars, lorries or even smaller vehicles such as forklift trucks, they can have seriously nasty consequences.
It’s therefore up to employers to ensure that seatbelts and other safety precautions are both in place and in use where appropriate
Cuts and lacerations
All sorts of office implements can end up leaving their user nursing a painful cut. From power saws to paper trimmers, it’s easy to do yourself a mischief at work. The most common causes of these lacerations include poor training, inadequate safety procedures and failing to wear the proper protection.
Bosses can help prevent such accidents by providing adequate safety equipment and putting the right procedures (including training) in place.
Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is another problem that’s become increasingly commonplace at work over the years, though even now some employers don’t seem to take it entirely seriously.
It’s not just a problem for those of us who regularly use keyboards in our work, either – in fact, it can result from any repetitive motion of the joints. The cumulative impact of RSI can be severe in some cases, so it makes sense to take precautions.
Employers can help prevent RSI by encouraging and reminding workers to take appropriate breaks. Likewise, ergonomic equipment, like hand trucks can help to alleviate the strain.
Fire and Explosions
Explosions and fires in the workplace are frequently caused by risk factors such as faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials or open flames. The resulting injuries incurred include damage to the respiratory system, varying degrees of burns and even potential disfigurement. Explosions and fires account for 3 percent of workplace injuries and have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents.
Acts of violence
Some job roles require employees to regularly interact with the public and with this comes the danger that they will find themselves in a violent situation. Those in the retail industry or someone working as a security guard are just two examples where this type of risk is most prevalent.
The best way to protect your employees and help prevent injuries in your workplace is to take a holistic approach to workplace safety. This means ensuring your employees have the proper protective equipment, adequate training to perform their jobs, and making sure your facility is compliant with federal and environmental regulations.
Falls from Heights
Falls from heights are any instances where an employee is required to work from high places and is thus at risk of falling. ‘Height’ in this case is often categorized as anywhere above ground level and can lead to serious injury should the proper precautions not be put in place.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that of the cases of work accidents reported annually;
- 11% involved overexertion in lifting or lowering.
- 64% of bone fractures were from accidents in the service industries.
- 62% of slips, trips, and falls were on the same level.
- 20% of slips, trips, and falls were from a worker falling between two or more levels.
- 15% of all nonfatal workplace injuries were from workers being struck by equipment or objects while on the job.
- 35% of cases across all industries resulted from sprains, strains, and tears.
The BLS also reported that, across all industries, more than 25% of all injuries were caused by slips, trips, and falls. And of course, with time these statistics would expand to include the effects of workers contracting Covid-19 from the workplace.
If you’re injured at work, immediately seek first aid or get a colleague to call an ambulance. Feel free to seek further medical treatment or consultation at The Calgary Family Clinic.
Have a Safe Day, even if you’re working from home today! Remember, you can never be too cautious.