A serious workplace accident is similar to any spontaneous catastrophe, like a house fire or robbery. Similar in that we often think of them in the same way – ‘sure, it happens all the time. But it won’t happen to me.’
But it’s important to be aware of the possibility of safety hazards in the workplace. After all, most of us spend a quarter of our lives in our places of employment. According to the U.S National Safety Council, an employee is injured while working every seven seconds.
It is important to be aware of the potential dangers at work and ways to avoid them, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the most common and likely causes of workplace injury.
Slips and Falls
By far the most common workplace accidents are slips, trips, and falls. According to Diamond and Diamond “Problems such as inadequate lighting, leaking pipes that lead to slippery surfaces, uneven floor surfaces, or rotten deck boards could all contribute to a slip and fall accident.”
They can occur so easily in almost any environment, whether it’s slipping in the newly mopped restroom floor or tripping over a computer cable. The construction industry constitutes 1 out of 5 of all workplace industries, and almost 40% of those injuries are the result of a fall.
Strained and pulled muscles are a well-known consequence of manual labor. Particularly when it comes to heavy lifting. That’s why in any workplace training module for jobs that involve physical work, emphasis is always placed on handling heavy objects in the correct ways to avoid an accident.
This is another workplace incident that can occur in any place of employment and is very common. Feeling overworked can easily lead to physical and mental fatigue. The consequences of this are numerous – mental fatigue can cause an inability to perform the job with efficiency, and can have serious psychological effects.
For those experiencing physical fatigue, they may find themselvs falling asleep at work, a phenomenon which can lead to injury if the job involves operating any heavy machinery. Chronic stress, in general, can manifest other physical ailments.
Of course, this only applies to certain industries, usually those involving waste management or toxic chemicals. But these kinds of jobs can be extremely hazardous.
They can potentially result in a number of issues such as respiratory illness, acid burns, skin infections, blindness and more.
While it may seem unlikely, violence in work-spaces can occur fairly frequently. Again, the workplace is where a person spends a considerable amount of their life, and not everyone is going to get along.
Tensions in the office can often simmer over into violent altercations, particularly when people work together for many months or years. But this isn’t just an issue between co-workers. This can and often does occur between one employment and a non-employee who enters the workplace, for example, partners, ex-partners or other people unrelated to work situations.
How to Prepare for and Respond to a Workplace Accident
So how do to pre-empt these common workplace accidents, or deal with them when they happen?
When it comes to pre-empting accidents there are easy things that can be done. Be as cautious and aware of the environment and any potential hazards are common sense of course. It is important to also pay close attention to any Health & Safety training that may be required or offered by their place of employment.
It is also essential to keep informed on general safety protocols in a particular workplace. When working in jobs requiring the operation of machinery, or handling of dangerous or toxic substances, make sure to always wear the appropriate equipment.
In response to a workplace accident, any medical bills and potential inability to work is to be handled by the human resources department. In the unlikely situation that there is disagreement over liability and compensation, an employee should seek professional advice
At the end of the day,an employee is unlikely to experience any significant harm in their workplace. But it is always good to be as informed as possible about dangers to health and safety. Keep these things in mind and one should be safe from workplace hazards.