According to data collected in 2013 (the current available data) workplace accidents that caused employees to miss more than six days of work due to injury cost businesses close to $62 billion.
That’s a lot of money, and it no doubt led to some heavy business interruption. If a number of your staff are out for injury, how can you provide for their salary and generate revenue for your business? The first thing you have to do is try and minimize the potential for workplace injury. When you know what the top five workplace accidents are, you can better train your employees on how to avoid them.
- Overextension causing injury: Also referred to as overexertion injury, this workplace accident happens when an employee excessively lifts, pulls, pushes or carries a product repeatedly or incorrectly. When an employee overexerts themselves in the workplace, they could develop a musculoskeletal disorder, which affects the nerves, tendons and muscles in the neck and back.
How to avoid this injury: Train your employees how to correctly lift merchandise and supply them with equipment that will help them to carry or push company product without exerting a lot of physical injury. Your employees may give you some strange looks when the training session includes how to pick up a box, but they’ll thank you later.
- Tripping/Slipping: Have you ever tripped over a flat surface? We all have, but not everyone is able to regain their balance before body slamming the floor. Workplace injury resulting in a slip and fall cost U.S. businesses as much as $10.17 billion. If you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance to help cover their medical bills resulting from the fall, your employee has grounds to sue for an unsafe work environment.
How to avoid this injury: Make sure all floors are dry and debris-free. Have employees wear closed-toed, good-gripping shoes and post signs and seal off areas where a crack or water spill is on the floor.
- Falling: In 2015, over 700 workers died from sustaining injuries caused by a fall. This includes falling from a stairway, ladder, roof, balcony or upper level.
How to avoid this injury: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises establishing a plan of action before any of your employees are made to work on a rooftop or from a ladder. Invest in safety gear durable ladders and scaffolding and have your employees work in teams to spot each other.
- Reaction causing injury: This type of injury occurs from repetitive motion, such as typing at the computer every day, sitting in the same hunched position or trying to catch their balance after a trip. Like overexertion-related injuries, reaction injuries put strain on muscles, tendons, nerves and joints.
How to avoid this injury: Have your employees take 5-10 minute stretch breaks and invest in ergonomic office furniture, such a standing desk. By initiating these practices, you will help them to lead a more active lifestyle at work.
- Product/Merchandise handling: If an item isn’t placed well on a shelf during an inventory check or an employee handles a package carelessly they could hurt themselves or their co-workers when the product falls. Workers hit by a falling object at work cost businesses $5.3 billion a year, according to Property Casualty 360.
How to avoid this injury: Have your employees wear hard hats and closed-toed shoes in areas where there may be falling debris and teach them how to safely stock inventory and store shelves. Anything with some of its weight hanging over the edge of a shelf is a danger and should be avoided.
A lot can go wrong at work, but if you train your staff, invest in good safety equipment and get a small business insurance plan, you’ll increase your chances of an accident-free workplace.