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3 Common Occupational Injuries and How To Prevent Them

As an employer, we have a rightful duty to keep our employees safe. That means maintaining a safe working environment and raising awareness of situations that can result in an occupational injury. The best way to prevent occupational injury, is to know how they occur. If we know how they occur, then there can be company-wide practices in place to minimize the chances of anyone getting hurt.

1. Slipping and Falling
One of the most common causes of occupational injury is an employee slipping and falling. Most of the time, these injuries are minor, but not always. Head and back injuries, broken bones, sprains, pulled muscles, and cuts, are just some of the many consequences of something as seemingly simple as falling. Luckily, slipping and tripping can usually be avoided in the workplace. Most people trip and fall due to slick surfaces, improper footwear, or cluttered walkways. 

All employees should be held accountable for keeping a clean and clear workplace. Drawers should be completely shut to avoid tripping, spills should be cleaned up immediately, wet floor signs should be made accessible, proper footwear should be worn for restaurant jobs; these are just some examples of how employers can reduce the risk of slipping and tripping.

2. Ignoring Safety Instructions
Occupational injury can often occur simply because employees aren’t taking precaution when operating machinery or equipment. Accidents do happen, but safety instructions should be taken seriously to reduce risk. Frequent safety meetings to enforce regulations is a good way to remind workers that their safety comes first. 

Employees that aren’t authorized to operate machinery, never should. When someone is operating machinery, everyone should be made aware. There should be off-limits zones to ensure nobody is in the way of moving parts. Injuries from machines and equipment can be fatal, or result in serious injury like crushed hands or feet. Precautions should also be taken seriously because most of these incidents are preventable. 

3. Overexertion 
Injury due to overexertion isn’t always what we think about when discussing occupational injury, but it’s just as serious as anything else. Employees should take good care of themselves, otherwise they will be unable to work in the future. There needs to be an understanding between all employees that if someone needs to rest or take a quick break to catch their breath, then that’s okay. There are many causes of overexertion, such as lifting heavy objects improperly, not taking breaks, not using available equipment to lift heavy objects, and more. 

To prevent this from happening, employees should be given frequent breaks if they’re performing repetitive tasks that require use of the same muscles all day. There should be equipment to help lift objects that are over 50lbs, as well as other proper protective equipment. 

This is not a complete list of occupational injuries, but they are three very common ones. The best way to prevent any kind of occupational injury is to be attentive to your work environment and listen to your body. If something is too heavy, ask for help. If there’s a spill on the floor, wipe it up. Proper signs and protective gear are also crucial. Make sure your employees are reminded of these simple methods that help prevent injury. If an accident does occur, PrimeCare in North Little Rock is available to help with minor incidents, without waiting for an appointment.