Whether you work in an office or on a construction site, the workplace can be dangerous. While each job possesses inherent risks, you have the right to feel safe in your workplace. Look for these common hazards while you're on the job and work with your employer to facilitate a safe work environment.
Overexertion is the leading cause of workers' compensation cases. When someone extends their joints beyond the safe range of motion, they often pull and damage muscles.
People who work in construction jobs, factory jobs, or other jobs that require lifting, pulling, pushing, or throwing, are at risk for this type of injury.
If you worry about overexertion at your workplace, talk to your employer about holding a workplace safety training. All employees should know proper lifting and carrying techniques and should recognize their individual weight limits.
Falling on the Same Surface (Slips and Falls)
When winter rolls around, do you ever struggle to make it across the sidewalk at work because it's iced over? Are all wet floors marked with the proper signs?
Slips and falls account for many of the workplace injuries every year, and most workplaces are susceptible to such problems. Slip and fall injuries range from a bruised ego to a broken back.
These accidents are largely preventable. If the walkways are iced over, talk to your employer or human resources representative about protocol for snow and ice removal.
You should also talk to your employer about making sure people take care of spills promptly and that the proper signage is in place to indicate a wet floor.
Falling from a Higher Surface
Thousands of workers a year fall from ladders, roofs, and stairs. These accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. While these falls usually impact construction workers and roofers, any workplace with a staircase can be dangerous.
Talk to your employer about checking ladders and safety equipment regularly. Additionally, encourage your employer to regularly train employees on proper use of all equipment.
Furthermore, if the staircases at your workplace don't have railings (or if the railings are ineffective), bring this issue up with your employer.
Do you consistently work significant amounts of overtime? Does your employer put undue stress on you while you are in the workplace?
Stress and fatigue not only lead to lower productivity, but, depending on your individual circumstances, they each cause severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, skin conditions, and more.
A little bit of challenge in the workplace is normal and even beneficial. However, when your work environment is so stressful or fatiguing that your health suffers, there is a problem. Consider meeting with someone from human resources to discuss possible solutions.
Slipping and Tripping
If you slip or trip but don't fall, you often sustain different injuries than someone who falls. For instance, if you walk across a jobsite or office and trip over debris in the walkway, you might prevent yourself from falling but sprain or twist your ankle in the process.
Ice and snow can lead to slipping and tripping, but so can an unclean work environment. To maintain a clean environment, the change must start with you. Make sure your area is tidy and talk to your supervisor or boss about starting an initiative to keep the workspace, especially the walkways, clean.
Repetitive movements without proper precautions can eventually lead to various health problems. Consistent typing, lifting, sewing, folding, and twisting, as well as frequent computer work, can lead to issues such as back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Throughout the day, take regular breaks from repetitive tasks. Talk to your employer about situations that might subtly cause damage. Consider implementing stretches and exercises to prevent problems from your repeated activities.
Improperly secured items can cause serious damage if they fall on an employee. Injury from falling objects encompasses anything from a box of nails to filing boxes to a toppling bookshelf. Depending on the size and nature of the object, injuries range from small bruises to chemical burns to broken bones.
If you notice hazardous situations around work such as boxes stacked too high, shelving units improperly secured to the wall/floor, or precariously placed items, notify your employer immediately. Encourage your manager to create guidelines for the weight and height limits of different items.
Have you ever rounded a blind corner and slammed into a coworker pushing a cart? While most of these collisions don't result in serious damage, if one party were to run into the other while holding something as simple as a cup of hot coffee, the results could be hazardous for both parties. This risk is exacerbated on construction sites or factories that include dangerous equipment.
While you can't control other people, you can make sure you always act alert and aware as you walk around your workplace. Avoid texting or looking down in the hallways and pay attention to your surroundings. Furthermore, improve the office environment and encourage your employer to install mirrors around blind corners.
A safe workplace is a happy, productive workplace. Check your workplace for any of these common dangers and work with your employer to make your work environment safer for everyone.