13 Sep Common Workplace Injuries and Their Causes
The purpose of the medical and disability benefits available to Arizona workers injured at the workplace is to help the individual to recover as quickly as possible in order to return to work. Workers’ compensation legislation makes medical treatment immediately available to an injured worker by taking away the concerns over how to pay for it as previously existed.
One way to keep workers throughout the state healthy and on the job is to identify the causes of some of the most common workplace injuries. Through worker education, stepped up enforcement of safety regulations and a commitment to limiting hazards to which workers are exposed, many injuries and compensation claims can be decreased.
Slips, trips, and falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls in the U.S. cost the country almost $70 billion a year in workers’ compensation benefits and medical costs. Head injuries, broken bones and death can result from a fall. The following are some of the most common causes of workers slipping, tripping and falling:
- Debris, power cords, tools, and equipment cluttering work area floors
- Ice and snow in parking areas and walkways
- Openings in floors and walls
- Unsafe ladders and scaffolding
- Improper use of safety harnesses and other fall protection gear
Employers can make workplaces safer by training workers to keep floors and walkways clean and clear of obstacles. Workers should also be provided with and required to use safety harnesses and fall protection gear when performing tasks from elevated locations.
Lifting more weight than a person can safely handle is a common cause of neck, back and spine injuries in the workplace. Instead of waiting for help or for equipment to assist with the lift, workers in a hurry to complete a task might attempt to lift something and get hurt in the process. Workers should be trained to request assistance when it is necessary to lift heavy objects.
Another cause of lifting injuries is improper lifting technique. Too many workers lift with their backs instead of with their legs. This is usually due to a lack of instruction in proper lifting techniques. The solution is to require training for all employees, including office workers who could be called upon to lift boxes containing papers, files or other heavy materials.
Motor vehicle and heavy equipment accidents
Texting while driving is a leading cause of driver inattention. Studies have shown that drivers engaged in a conversation on a cellphone, even one equipped with a hands-free device, can still miss up to 50 percent of what is going on in front of their vehicles.
Operators of heavy equipment and other motorized machinery must receive proper training to prevent them from going beyond the safety limitations of the equipment. Rollovers may occur when equipment is used improperly. For example, operating a commercial riding lawnmower on a hillside can cause it to tip and rollover if the slope is too steep. Tractors and similar equipment can topple backward if forced to climb a grade that is too steep.
Preventing workplace accidents
Many workplace accidents and injuries can be prevented through training and the use of proper safety gear and equipment. If an injury happens, a workers’ compensation lawyer is the best resource for legal advice and guidance.