“Forklift truck” by JAXPORT is licensed under CC BY 2.0
If you suffer an injury while on the job, there are things you can do to protect your rights. Retaining a personal injury attorney with experience in workplace accidents should be one of your first steps after seeking medical treatment, as you’ll need a strong legal professional on your side when dealing with your employer and/or the insurance company. Do your homework and choose wisely when hiring a lawyer, as there are certain qualities that he or she should possess. Look for someone with an extensive background and knowledge in the relevant personal injury laws. Your attorney should also demonstrate dedication to pursuing your legal remedies and passion for seeing you made whole after sustaining injuries.
Of course the best outcome, would be if you never suffered an injury in the workplace. Here are some suggestions to keep you safe on the job.
Workplace injuries statistics show that equipment failures, tool malfunctions, heaving lifting mishaps and falls are some of the most common incidents. There are also health problems that can arise from performing repetitive tasks while on the job. These circumstances can lead to devastating consequences beyond the physical injuries as well, including work absences, loss of wages and long term medical treatment.
There are things you can do to prevent workplace injuries and protect yourself from harm. Here are the best ways to prevent workplace injuries from affecting you.
Treat Your Back Right
When you suffer from aches and pains in your back, chances are your spine is sustaining unnecessary strain through lifting or handling heavy loads. Over time, you can cause severe harm to your spine, including lower back injury, disc damage and joint problems. Chiropractic treatment and even surgery may be required for chronic or acute injuries, so it’s important to avoid these issues before they occur.
Don’t overdo it when bending and lifting
There are federal and local regulations that govern various workplace conditions, including the type and size of loads employees should be moving. Your employer may also have restrictions, depending on your industry. Practice safe lifting techniques
Proper lifting practices can help you avoid workplace injuries when moving equipment.
1. Lead with your chest and bend at the hips instead of the lower back. While many will tell you to “lift with your knees,” this isn’t entirely true: You can also cause injury if you use your knees while still arching your back. Therefore, keep your chest out to ensure proper spine position.
2. Push your hips forward and thrust shoulders back. This will help you avoid twisting your back, which can lead to muscle and tendon injuries. If you need to turn to maneuver your load, swivel your hips and the shoulders will follow.
3. Hold the load close to your body. Your center of gravity is near your torso, and this is the force doing the most to lift the load. You’re carrying the weight more efficiently when you keep your gear close to your frame.
Ergonomic design for workstations is intended to reduce the physical stress caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time during your shift. Properly setting up your work area, tools and equipment can help prevent musculoskeletal and other types of injuries.
Repetitive tasks can lead to health issues
When you’re at your workstation for several hours a day, you can suffer injuries just as severe as those that result from an on-the-job accident.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: CTS affects the wrists and hands, causing pain, numbness and stiff joints. It mainly impacts people who spend most of their day typing or handling vibrating tools.
- Vision Problems: Focusing on a computer screen or other monitor all day can result in eye strain, including blurry vision itching and wateriness. Some people also suffer headaches and eye fatigue.
- Muscle and Back Strain: When you’re maintaining a constant position for most of the work day, your muscles and joints become stressed. Sitting down can also affect your back and posture.
Allow breaks to regenerate and relax your body
Take the time to stretch your muscles and move about the area. You should make a point of taking a walk around your workstation two to three times per hour in order to avoid atrophy and fatigue. Walk the long route to the rest room and reach your arms over your head to get your blood moving.
Use ergonomically designed chairs and computer equipment
Many furniture manufacturers feature lines of ergonomically designed office equipment, including chairs, desks and work stations. Computer equipment can also ease muscle strain and eye fatigue, such as keyboards and mouse units designed to make movement more natural for hands and wrists.
Depending on your industry, the work environment itself may present dangers. Construction, roadwork, utilities and shipping businesses may include certain risk factors.
The most common causes of workplace injuries are on-site conditions. These include poor lighting, loose carpeting or tiles, wet floors, and poorly maintained equipment. Wear footwear with good traction to avoid dangerous slips and falls.
Set up clear signage for wet floors. Moisture in certain work environments is inevitable, but puddles and wet floors don’t need to be hazardous if they’re properly marked. Make sure to set up clear and obvious signage around slippery spots to avoid accidents.
Maintain an uncluttered work environment. Improperly stowed gear and scattered equipment can be disastrous in the workplace, causing injuries from tripping and falling. Keep your work station clear of all clutter so stray items don’t present a danger to you or others.
Don’t Take A Dive
Falling from the work area is a problem for certain industries that require employees to be positioned at higher levels. Most falls are from ladders, roofs and stairways. Workplace injuries statistics confirm that falls from these high positions cause the most physical harm on the job. Under most circumstances, working at these levels cannot be avoided in order to get the job done, so it’s critical to take appropriate precautions.
Install proper safety equipment and gear. Implementing the suitable safeguards can significantly reduce workplace injuries that result from falls. Utilizing strong guide rails and wearing proper protective gear reduces the likelihood that a faulty step or bad footing leads to catastrophe.
Ensure proper training for those at higher levels. Even with the right safety equipment in place, it’s still essential to train employees working on ladders, roofs and staircases. These individuals should know how to properly maneuver around work sites and navigate perilous areas where they need to accomplish their tasks.
Mind The Machines
Construction workers, manufacturing laborers, factory employees and others whose occupations involve being around machinery face unique challenges. Workplace routine can lead to complacence. When you’re working with machinery and equipment day in, day out, your tasks become monotonous. Take scheduled breaks a few times every hour in order to stay focused and maintain concentration. Proper safety gear is essential. Many of the warnings about donning appropriate safety gear are common sense, like wearing a protective coat if you’re exposed to radiation or using goggles while working with certain equipment. However, there are other circumstances that mandate other safety gear, especially those where your fingers and limbs can be injured around heavy machinery. Certain equipment can cause severe injuries because loose hair or clothing gets caught or lodged. You should make sure to wear appropriate foot wear, such as steel-toed boots and shoes that cover your toes.
With these tips on protecting yourself from workplace injuries, you can avoid the terrible consequences that will change your life. Keep in mind that these harms can last for months or even years, so it’s important to take every precaution you can in order to prevent accidents.