Common Workplace Injuries and How to Prevent Them
With insurance premiums increasing, the best way to lower costs is to have a good loss control program in place. Kevin Lombardo of Dorn Industries has written extensively on workplace injuries; a recent post (https://dorncompanies.com/preventing-workplace-injuries/) lists the most common types and ways to prevent them.
- Handling and storing materials and equipment accounts for 32% of total workers’ compensation claims. They can be prevented by proper practices: Stack heavy materials at the bottom, lighter at the top. Restrict loads to 40 pounds to avoid back injuries. Keep enough space between pallets and shelves to give workers room to move. Use the latest lift technology.
- Slips, trips and falls cause 15% of accidental deaths, and injuries to many body parts. Keep floors clean and dry. Provide adequate walking space. Keep facilities well lit. Train workers on safe use of ladders.
- Fires are dangerous but easily prevented. Buildings should be compliant with safety codes. Workers must know the location of fire exits. Monitor for exposed wiring, leaking fluids and hidden cables.
- Overexertion causes back injuries, repetitive motion stress an hernia. These injuries often become chronic conditions. Reduce strain by requiring employee breaks, proper use of tools and avoid heavy lifting.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other stress injuries. Use ergonomic assessments, provide safe tools and equipment, encourage breaks and movement.
- Hazardous or toxic substances. Avoid spills and train workers to deal with chemical accidents. Provide up to date protective clothing and equipment.
Lombardo lists four steps in a risk mitigation plan:
- Detailed organization risk assessment.
- Align assessment result with program goals.
- Design and implement safety plan.
- Measure results and modify as needed.