The most common workplace accidents are split into 4 categories. These are easily recognizable and you are most likely already aware of them.
- Slip & Trip
- Manual Handling
Below we will take a look at each of these accident types and provide some ideas on how to avoid them. It is can be very, very expensive to ignore workplace safety, for both the employee and the employer.
Safety in the workplace is not a single individual’s or group’s job, it is everyone’s. This is an issue that must not be taken lightly by anyone, ever!
Overlooking something seemingly minor such as a slippery floor can ultimately cause serious damage to someone’s heath. Always be vigilant about safety.
Topping of the list of the most common accidents, accounting for more than a third of all accidents we have the Slip/Trip category. You may think of a slip or trip as a minor event. However, it is surprising easy to severely twist a knee, ankle or lower back trying to recover from a slip or trip. Depending of the duties of the person involved in this type of accident/injury the lost time could be measured in weeks instead of hours or days.
Trips & Slips: minimize these by ensuring
- Worn floor coverings should be replaced or repaired immediately
- Walkways, stairways should be kept clear and the walking surface kept clean and dry
- Blind spots should be addressed by removing them or by posted signage
- Never run cables, cords or wires through a walkway
- Hand rails and guard rails should be securely installed wherever appropriate
- Areas with a high potential to become slippery should be well marked
- All areas should have sufficient lighting
The next item in our list is Manual handling. This covers any activity requiring the use of the hands. Moving or carrying boxes is a good example. But it also includes activities like, lowering, pushing, restraining, holding, pulling, and lifting. This category accounts for just under a third of all accidents. Often, injuries are musculoskeletal, meaning the affected areas are often the bones and the muscles. Thus strains and injuries to feet, legs, arms, hands, lower-back and even to the heart are quite common.
Manual handling: reduce accidents of this nature by
- Provide training of proper lifting technique
- Requiring more than 1 person for pulling or pushing, twisting, lifting items over 70 pounds
- Providing equipment to minimize the hazardous part of performing these activities. This can include belts, steel-toed shoes or mechanical devices to aid lifting like a forklift
- Allowing sufficient rest periods
Next up, Electric shocks, electric burns, and other accidents involving electrical equipment and appliances. Don’t be fooled in to thinking these are limited to electricians. People who are working in offices are prone to accidents caused by faulty wiring, open wires, and poorly maintained electrical outlets.
Electrical accidents: minimize electrical accidents by
- Hiding away electrical wires, cables and sockets
- By proving proper electrical hazards
- By providing full training to employees who are working with electrical equipment
Lastly we will address Traffic Accidents. This area can include people colliding as well motorized vehicles. Traffic accidents happen in hallways, warehouses and parking lots.
Traffic accidents: prevent these by
- Separating vehicles from pedestrians using barriers
- Consider using one-way systems
- Properly train drivers
The measures that are set to ensure the human safety often define not only the production capability of individual members of the organization, but also their well-being. The most common accidents discussed above should be able to guide managements in setting up measures that can ensure the safety of everyone including customers, visitors and employees.