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Approximately 8,900,000 U.S. employees (six percent of the workforce) sustain workplace injuries and illnesses each year, according to data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC). Here are five common workplace injuries, and how to help prevent them:

 

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls account for approximately one-third of all workplace injuries and are also the main cause of workers’ compensation claims. Workers who sustain these types of injuries often suffer from head and back injuries, fractures, lacerations, sprains, and pulled muscles. Good housekeeping, wearing the proper footwear and paying attention to where you are going can prevent many of these injuries.

 

Struck by Moving Machinery

When body parts get caught in or struck by machinery without protective guards, the results are often devastating. Machinery-related injuries occurring in the workplace can result in crushed hands and arms, severed fingers or limbs, and blindness. Injuries involving machinery can be prevented by eliminating hazards providing employees with proper training and protective clothing.

 

Transportation-Related Accidents

Transportation-related accidents include being hit or run over by a moving vehicle, falling or getting hit by objects falling from a vehicle, or being crushed under an overturned vehicle in the workplace. These accidents can be prevented through risk assessment vehicle/worker orientation, and making obstructions visible.

 

Fire and Explosions

Faulty gas lines, poor pipefitting, improperly stored combustibles, and open flames can lead to fires and explosions in the workplace. The resulting injuries, which include severe burns, damage to the respiratory system, and disfigurement can be potentially prevented by requiring employees to wear personal protective equipment at all times.

 

Overexertion

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most costly workplace injuries—back pain alone costs employers an estimated $7.4 billion each year. Ergonomics provides simple injury prevention solutions that are relatively inexpensive, and employees who are assigned tasks that can overexert should be required to take frequent breaks to rest and stretch.

 

There are many ways to make the workplace safer and prevent injuries, but perhaps the best way is to take a holistic approach to workplace safety by identifying risk factors and making an effort to create a safer workplace.

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