Protecting the safety of your employees is a paramount concern for your company. When you encourage a culture of workplace safety, many of the most common workplace injuries are preventable. By understanding the causes of many of the most common injuries and how employees can avoid many of the common pitfalls, you can help your employees enjoy a safer work environment while reducing your workers’ compensation costs. Here are several of the most common workplace injuries, along with strategies for prevention.
Slips, trips, and falls
Most slips, trips, and falls (STF) injuries are caused by tripping over loose cords, bumping into equipment and losing balance, wet floors and lose mats or carpets. STF are the single most common injury reported by employees, but they are also some of the easiest injuries to prevent.
Some basic prevention methods to limit your employees’ likelihood of a STF accident include:
- Cleaning up all spills immediately. After cleanup, place “wet floor” signs around the area to ensure that employees know to exercise extra caution in that area.
- Keep work spaces and walkways clear, tidy, and free of clutter, debris, and obstacles.
- Ensure that employees close filing cabinets and desk drawers when not in use.
- Cover cables and cords in walkways.
- Encourage employees to wear proper footwear with good traction.
- Train employees to fall “properly” to minimize fall injuries.
Back and shoulder injuries
Particularly for those in manufacturing, factory, or warehouse workplaces, lifting and moving objects safely at work is key to preventing back and shoulder injuries. Minimizing back and shoulder injuries requires proper training and for employees to understand their own physical limitations.
Some basic prevention methods to limit back and shoulder injuries include:
- Asking for assistance when lifting heavy objects or utilizing lifting equipment, if necessary.
- Make sure that you use proper posture when sitting or standing.
- Provide padded mats for employees to stand on, particularly if they are required to stand in one place for a majority of their shift.
- Allow for frequent rest periods.
- Encourage employees to report any discomfort they may experience in a typical workday. Early reporting can minimize the long-term impact of repetitive stress and allows you to address and correct working conditions where necessary.
- Train employees on proper lifting techniques.
With winter just around the corner, winter-related slips and falls should become a focus of your injury prevention strategy. Winter slips and falls can happen in any workplace, to any employee, and can cause serious injuries including concussions, broken bones, sprains, and other avoidable injuries.
To limit the number of ice falls your employees experience, you should employee basic prevention methods including:
- Set clear expectations for snow and ice removal.
- Apply salt and other surface treatments to melt icy spots.
- Identify potholes, cracks, and any other areas where water can accumulate and freeze. Repair these areas if necessary, or place warning signs near them to notify employees that extra caution is needed.
- Maintain lighting in parking lots and along sidewalks to make it easier for employees to see patches of snow and ice.
- Maintain or install handrails along stairs or slanted walkways.
- Review the previous year’s injury reports to determine problem areas and address these as soon as possible.
- Clean up snow and ice that has been tracked indoors. Use “wet floor” signs to ensure that employees use caution in these areas.
- Require all employees to wear anti-slip shoe grips during inclement weather.
Work with your MCO to prevent workplace injuries
Working with the experts at your Ohio managed care organization (MCO) to identify and put a stop to preventable workplace injuries can help you reduce your workers’ compensation premiums, avoid lost productivity, and keep your employees safer in the workplace.
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