CareNow® - January 21, 2019

A worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. That equates to an estimated 104 million production days lost due to work-related injuries each year. 

If one of your employees gets injured on the job, it can have a major impact on your business.

The combination of medical bills, the loss of that worker’s productivity, workers’ compensation paperwork and low morale can all be costly.

In order to prevent injuries in your workplace, it’s important that you know the types of injuries that most commonly cause workplace accidents.

The Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries

  • Sprains and strains:
    • This is one of the leading injuries in manufacturing environments. They typically occur suddenly and worsen over days, weeks or even months.
    • The usual cause is excessive force, excessive repetition, awkward posture or other environmental factors.
  • Soreness or pain:
    • Heavy lifting, repetitive movements and sitting at a desk all day can cause soreness or pain. While there are a number of factors that contribute to pain caused at work, there are many lifestyle choices outside the office that can factor in as well.
    • To remain injury-free, employees can try to maintain a healthy weight, exercise and stretch, and take breaks throughout the day, which is key to minimizing stress on the back, joints and other parts of the body.
  • Cuts, lacerations or punctures:
    • These injuries account for nearly 30 percent of all workplace accidents. In order to minimize the number of cuts and lacerations in the workplace, it is important to identify potential hazards and learn how to control them.
  • Slips, trips and falls:
    • These types of accidents are the No. 1 cause for workers’ compensation claims, and they account for a third of all personal injuries in the workplace.
    • Good housekeeping, quality walking surfaces and proper footwear all play big roles in preventing slips, trips and falls.
  • Struck by moving machinery:
    • When machinery is not properly guarded, it opens up the opportunity for body parts to get caught on or struck by moving parts.
    • Enforce proper training on all machinery and make sure employees wear protective clothing at all times.
  • Fire and explosion:
    • Faulty gas lines, poor pipe fitting, open flames and improperly stored combustible materials are all risk factors when it comes to unexpected explosions and fires.
    • Have an evacuation plan in place and practice it regularly.
    • Test smoke alarms at least once a year and change them every 10 years.

How to Prevent Injuries

To prevent workplace injuries, it is important to understand the underlying causes.

Once you’ve determined what is causing injuries, you can train employees how to prevent them in the future. Here are some general recommendations.

  • Practice good housekeeping:
    • One of the best ways to keep employees safe is by keeping orderly spaces. Make sure your workplace has designated foot paths, is clear of debris and includes stations specifically built for cleaning up spills.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts:
    • Accidents often occur when employees skip over steps that are necessary to complete a job safely.
    • Anytime you give employees an assignment, be sure to provide clear and organized instructions to prevent unnecessary mishaps.
  • Reinforce safety rules and regulations:
    • Once your employees have been properly trained, monitor safety measures at all times. Make an effort to regularly reward employees who follow the rules and set standards.
  • Enforce pre-employment physicals:
    • When appropriate for the position, ask employees to undergo a physical exam before placing them in certain roles.
    • This ensures that employees are placed in positions that match their physical capabilities.
  • Take time to educate employees:
    • Train employees on the importance of following safety protocols. For example, train employees on the right (and wrong) ways to lift and move.
  • Maintain adequate staff numbers:
    • Allowing your staff levels to dwindle can often result in overtime hours. When employees are overworked, it increases the chance of injuries.
    • Oftentimes, part-time or even seasonal staff can help minimize exhaustion-induced accidents.

Develop A Safety And Wellness Plan

Developing an accident prevention and wellness program for employees is one of the best ways to keep your environment safe.

Make sure the program covers all levels of employee safety and health, and encourage employees to report any hazardous practices or behavior.

  • Find out where your vulnerabilities lay:
    • All businesses have their unique set of safety concerns, so it’s important that you focus on the types of accidents that are common to yours and develop strategies to prevent them.
  • Make sure company vehicles are up to par:
    • Research shows that workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion annually. To avoid accidents, perform monthly inspections and repair vehicles immediately when issues occur.
  • Provide equipment for personal protection:
    • Train new employees on the proper use of personal protection equipment, and reinforce this training whenever possible, such as during regular staff meetings.
    • Make sure all employees have been trained on how to properly use goggles, hard hats, safety shoes, etc.

CareNow® Urgent Care Can Help

If one of your employees does get injured, consider taking him or her to your local CareNow® location.

From on-site X-ray capabilities to evidence-based guidelines used for treatment, our experienced occupational medicine specialists are prepared for any workplace-related health condition.

CareNow® also offers pre-employment drug and alcohol testing, occupational physical exams, and employee health and wellness.

Our walk-in clinics are open every day of the week with extended hours of operation. We also offer customized plans for your company’s unique needs through our electronic corporate protocols.

To avoid spending time in the waiting room, be sure to use the Web Check-In® feature before your visit.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.