Top 5 Preventable Workplace Injuries

Businesses lose millions each year on workplace injuries or fatalities that likely could have been prevented. According to recent research from Liberty Mutual’s Research Institute for Safety, the five leading causes of workplace injuries drive nearly three-quarters of the nation’s direct workers compensation costs, well below the costs of preventive training.

The top 5 preventable workplace injuries include:

5. Struck by injuries: An object falls from a work table or a pallet and hits an employee, or scraps from a power tool flies and hits someone in the face. Landing on the fifth most common work injuries, it happens more than you think.

Prevention Actions: Messy work areas and loosely stacked objects on shelves all contribute to struck-by injuries. Train your employees to maintain a clean workspace and to avoid leaving tools or loose parts on window ledges, shelves or anywhere else from which they could fall. Also remind them that leaving protective guards or screens on all equipment is required.

4. Strike-against injuries:  A workers’ body does the striking that results in an injury. Injuries of this nature happen when an individual loses their balance or slips and falls into a door or piece of equipment. An example of this type of accident would be a worker turning and hitting a machine, or striking one’s shoulder against a wall while turning a corner.

Prevention Actions: Training your employees not to place excessive force on immobile objects and to avoid moving tools or work items while distracted can decrease the likelihood of strike-against injuries. Also, while it may seem obvious, zero tolerance for horseplay in the workplace can help prevent accidents like this, as well.

 3. Bodily reaction or Repetitive motion injuries: Injuries resulting from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, and constant repetitive movements collectively account for $7.8 billion in expenses in 2010, says the Research Institute for Safety.

Prevention Actions: These types of injuries are all caused by improper body movement. Training your employees to use proper posture while using equipment, paired with job rotation, which allows employees to trade off duties and causes less strain, all help combat these types of injuries.

 2. Fall to lower level or Same level slip/trip: Accounting for $13.73 billion in expenses nationwide in 2010, falling from heights often leads to severe or fatal injuries. The cause of these injuries often ranges from falls from ladders, down stairs or from jumping to a lower level, to slipping on wet or oily surfaces, and tripping due to poor lighting or uncovered cables.

Prevention Actions: While these types of accidents often to lead to more serious injuries, they are highly preventable. Train workers to only use ladders when there is a base of support, refrain from carrying two-handed loads while climbing, and using excessive speed. Also, promote a clean, organized workplace.

 1. Overexertion: Coming in as the number one most common work place injury, overexertion is caused by excessive pulling, lifting, pushing, or any type of activity that can cause extreme physical or psychological fatigue. Some common forms of overexertion result in back pain. As a whole, these injuries alone account for 26.8 percent ($13.61 billion) of the top causes of the most disabling injuries.

Prevention Actions: Train your employees to use proper lifting techniques, encourage them to ask for help when carrying heavy loads, and use mechanical lifting assistance when necessary. These types of accidents can also be prevented by promoting employees to report any signs of inflammation or discomfort before it becomes a full-blown injury.

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