3 Common Accidents at Workplaces and How to Prevent Them

construction worker hunched over hammering a nail into the floorboard

A safe and healthy environment is one of the most important parts of creating a productive workplace. However, accidents can happen in even the safest places. Knowing how to spot potential hazards will go a long way in preventing workplace injuries. Here are 3 of the most common types of workplace accidents and basic safety tips to prevent them from impacting you or your workforce in the future.

1. Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace

By far the most common accident encountered in the workplace is a slip or fall. As the third leading cause of accidental death, these kinds of accidents can occur in any type of environment, from the office to the factory floor. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2016, over 48,000 Americans suffered injuries from falls that were serious enough to require days off work and hundreds more fell to their deaths. While construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls, a fall doesn’t need to involve heights to have serious consequences. In 2016, 134 workers in the US were killed in falls on the same level.

How to Prevent Falls in the Workplace

Safety experts state that almost 100% of slips, trips, and falls are preventable. Being aware of your surroundings and reporting safety concerns when they arise are key to avoiding situations where injuries can occur. Where applicable, take basic safety precautions such as:

  • Wearing non-slip shoes
  • Laying out rubber mats in spill-prone areas
  • Keeping walkways and halls clear of debris and obstacles
  • Immediately cleaning wet and oily floors

Additionally, if you work with ladders, scaffolds, or lifts, ensure you understand how to operate them in a safe manner and that they are in good working order before using them.

2. Fires and Explosions in the Workplace

By far the most dangerous and deadly of workplace accidents are incidents involving fire and explosions. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over 37,000 fires and explosions occur each year and cost businesses an estimated $1 billion in property damage in addition to injuries and loss of life. Equipment, machinery, chemicals, and electrical hazards are the most common causes of workplace fires.

How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

Organizations like OSHA have established regulations to help workers avoid fire and explosion injuries. Workplaces should establish safety protocols to be carried out in the event of emergencies. Preparedness drills should be carried out routinely under the supervision of safety managers and experts like the fire department. Equipment, such as sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers, should be up-to-date on all safety features, and maintained on a regular basis. Fire safety training should be incorporated into employee handbooks and safety education. Meticulous records and safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals should be kept on hand in case of emergencies. Furthermore, employees should be trained in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and wear it whenever necessary.

3. Workplace Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) is the fastest growing category of workplace injury. They comprise more than 100 different types of job-related injuries that lead to significant wear and tear on the body. At first glance, RSIs are thought to be the least severe of possible workplace injuries because they aren’t fatal. However, any injury that is significant enough to inhibit basic daily duties and decrease overall quality of life should be given serious consideration and attention by employers. The most common forms of RSI occur because of improper heavy lifting and repetitive hand motion related tasks like typing, swiping, or line work. Signs of RSIs include pain, swelling, limited range of motion, weakness and tenderness in the affected areas.

What Can You Do

Depending on the source, RSIs can be remedied before they start. Proper training is critical to preventing injuries from heavy lifting; Proper rest, stretching, and breaks are keys to managing any physical stress. Whether your work is stationary or you have repetitive or physically tedious tasks, there is likely a solution available to help ensure your continued safety and wellbeing. Ergonomic keyboards, desks, chairs, and computer mice exist to keep your body in alignment and prevent RSIs from occurring.

If you suspect you are already suffering from an RSI, the first step should be to visit your doctor. A professional may prescribe medication or physical therapy, or in more extreme cases, surgical intervention.  They may also advise you about your options regarding worker’s compensation claims and adjusting your work to prevent further injury from occurring.

A Final Word on Workplace Safety

When it comes to staying safe in the workplace, it is as much an employee’s responsibility as it is the employer’s. Maintaining safe working conditions requires paying attention to your surroundings and reporting safety concerns whenever they arise. Furthermore, adequate training on safety procedures, equipment, driving protocol for jobs using vehicles and additional training on PPE ensures that every employee is able to do their part to prevent workplace accidents. Finally, maintaining a clear line of communication regarding incidents and risk factors will do much to prevent costly and possibly deadly situations from occurring.

If an accident ever happens in the workplace, and bodily fluid spillage is involved, call Aftermath Services. We professionally, quickly, and discreetly remediate the site to get rid of grisly reminders of the trauma in order to assist you and your employees in getting on the road to recovery. For immediate trauma and blood cleanup in the workplace, call 877-872-4339.