A list of the top ten accidents resulting in workers’ compensation claims was released by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety stating what accidents are most common and avoidable in the workplace. This research helps employers to be aware of the potential for these accidents as well as ways to avoid them. This article will go over those accidents and ways to help prevent them.
Overexertion can occur when an employee injures themselves by doing a job outside of their own physical limits. Improper lifting techniques, attempting to lift or move objects that are extremely heavy, or stretching too far while reaching for something are all examples of overexertion.
A few ways to prevent this are:
- Train your employees in the proper techniques for lifting items
- Use team lifting techniques or allow your employees to equipment that will assist in lifting excessively heavy objects
- Have employees use ladders or other tools to help reach things that are out of reach
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall claims are usually due to negligence. Wet floors, oil, snow, and ice can create slick surfaces that may cause an individual to lose balance, fall, and become injured. These are usually common claims against restaurants, grocery stores, and other business with water and other liquids that could potentially cause a fall are prevalent.
Some preventative measure you can take:
- Make sure when a spill happens place warnings (wet floor signs, caution cones, etc.) around the affected area;
- Clean up the spill immediately;
- If it is a maintenance issue, limit access to the area until it is repaired;
- In the event of snow and ice, make sure sidewalks and other surfaces affected are properly salted.
Falls to lower levels
When working above the ground floor of an establishment, employees have a risk of falling to lower levels of the establishment. Falling down stairwells, off construction scaffolding, and other areas off the ground are examples of this type of accident.
These types of accidents are a little harder to prevent, but these suggestions should be kept in mind:
- Make sure employees working in elevated areas are equipped with proper safety equipment;
- Keep stairs and elevators well maintained; and
- Close off areas that may increase the risk of one of these falls until they are properly repaired.
A bodily reaction injury is an injury that were incurred while trying to avoid another accident. For example, overexerting oneself and straining a muscle while trying to avoid being injured by a heavy object falling or straining one’s back while attempting to avoid a slip on an oily surface.
These types of injuries are technically unavoidable because they occurred in the process of avoiding a worse injury. The only way to help prevent them is by trying to prevent other accidents first.
Struck by Objects
Being struck by object can happen to one from a construction worker being hit by a steel beam to an object falling off a shelf on to an employee in a retail store These accidents can happen in any work environment. This can even include one employee dropping an object onto another employee causing injuries.
To minimize the risk of this occurring:
- Make sure objects that are high up are properly fastened, or that the right tools are available to access them;
- On construction site, make sure that employees keep safe distances from large objects that are being moved; and
- Ensure employees are following proper safety precautions when handling objects that could injure another worker.
Struck against Objects
In some cases, and employee may fall or be forced into a stationary object hard enough to cause injury. This is like bodily reactions, in that most preventative measures are by attempting to prevent other accidents. Clearing trip hazards as well as informing employees of dangerous areas that could cause them to be pinned or forced into an object is the best course of action.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Accidents that happen on the road while in the process of conducting company business fall into this category. Officers, representatives for businesses, and commercial drivers are at most risk for suffering this kind of accident.
Preventative measure that can be taken would be:
- Ensure the employee has a good driving record
- Train your employees in proper driving expectations
- Keep company vehicles well maintained
Machinery accidents usually only occur in manufacturing and construction jobs. These are not as common as the others, but due to the level of injury one can receive if it happens, it should be taken very seriously.
To prevent this, make sure:
- Employees are properly trained on the equipment and how to shut it down if an accident occurs;
- The machinery is properly maintained and working in a safe manner; and
- Employees operating the machine are not fatigued or overly tired.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, as well as many other injuries that occur from long-term repetitive motion fall into this category. This has become more common with the increase in jobs requiring computers.
This is also a hard incident to prevent because these injuries develop over time, but by making sure employees take breaks and rest their body, and equip them with ergonomic supplies may help to reduce the likelihood of a claim.
This includes violent acts from disgruntled employees, but also acts of violence committed by robbers or other individuals who are not employed. These occur more commonly in jobs that handle a lot of cash transactions, such as food service and gas stations.
Prevention of these types of injuries can be done by:
- Ensure your business has proper security for the level of risk;
- Train employees to comply with violent individuals to avoid injury; and
- In the case of disgruntled workers, look for signs of potentially violent action, and try to mediate and de-escalate situations
There is no way you can ensure that an accident will never happen, but you can do everything, within reason, to try to prevent them. If you are still injured on the job, contact a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Greenville to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.