Mitigating Risk for the Most Common Work Injuries

In 2019, the three most common work injuries that resulted in missed work days account for 84.3% of all incidents, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).  The top three causes are not likely to surprise many people:  overexertion, slip and falls, and coming into contact with or being struck by equipment.  These three causes resulted in about 750,000 cases of work injuries and millions of missed days of work.  Overexertion and slip and falls were most likely to be experienced by older workers, but equipment injuries were most likely to be experienced by young workers.

See the NSC infographic here.

Not all workplace accidents can be prevented, but there are ways to mitigate risks for each of the common injury categories.

Overexertion injury prevention

Overexertion can occur when attempting to lift or move a heavy object or when making repetitive motions.  The back is the most likely body part to be injured from overexertion.  If your job requires significant lifting or moving of heavy objects, following the best practices for lifting can prevent injury.

  • Use equipment designed to help lift, such as a lifting belt and gloves
  • Use tools designed to help lift, such as a dolly or hand truck
  • Lift with the legs, not the back
  • Seek help if a load might be too heavy or awkward
  • Stretch prior to lifting

Help avoid repetitive motion injuries by using ergonomic equipment and/or braces to assist in your work.

Slip and fall injury prevention

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has previously blogged about slip and fall accidents.  There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury from a slip and fall, but much of the responsibility relies on employer practices.  Your place of employment should take the following steps to protect you:

  • Ensure a safe, clean workspace
  • Promptly clear any wet or slippery surfaces
  • Remove obstructions from narrow paths
  • Create a well-lit environment

But there are also actions you can take to reduce your risk of a slip and fall injury:

  • Wear the appropriate footwear for your environment
  • Avoid distracted walking, including talking on a cell phone
  • Avoid areas under construction or areas with hazard signs
  • Stay aware of your surroundings

Equipment injury prevention

It may be difficult to prevent injury in the event of equipment failure, but injuries involving properly functioning equipment can be prevented.  Some responsibilities for injury prevention will fall to management:

  • Provide a complete safety plan for workers
  • Research the hazards associated with workplace equipment
  • Provide education on those hazards to workers
  • Provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Workers who know they are working with potentially dangerous equipment can also help themselves:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings at all time
  • Stay knowledgeable about the risks of using or being near potentially dangerous equipment
  • Wear the appropriate PPE at all times

If you do become injured at work despite your best efforts, contact an attorney

The California workers’ compensation system is notoriously complex.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps injured workers navigate the system, receive treatment for their injuries, and seek financial help for missed work.  Our firm provides free initial consultations and if we do not win your case we will not charge you for our services.  Our workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help.  Call us today at 888-517-9888.

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