We get that the headline might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point we’re trying to make is this: workplace safety and funding should go hand in hand. After all, you might not have a business to fund if you are socked by a lawsuit brought by injured employees, or worse, survivors of employees who died on the job.
Now that we have your attention…
Consider this a helpful reminder that while you might be understandably focused on maintaining or growing your business during these challenging times—tasks that can easily consume your time to the exclusion of everything else that matters—workplace injuries can easily derail a company’s growth goals.
After all, you can’t run a business efficiently if your employees are injured.
So, we’re going to take a look first at the 10 workplace safety infractions most often cited by OSHA, and then talk a bit about common injuries:
1. Fall Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
2. Hazard Communication Standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
3. Respiratory Protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
4. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
5. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
6. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
7. Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
8. Fall Protection–Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
9. Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102)
10. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
On top of the possible fines that come with the infractions listed above, there is the loss of time and money when employees are off from work to recuperate from injury.
With all of this in mind, here are the five most common workplace injuries, with a few tips for preventing them:
1. Trips, slips and falls: These account for one-third of all personal injuries at work, and are a top cause for workers’ comp claims. Injuries run the gamut from sprained muscles to broken bones and can occur anywhere on the body. Often, these preventable injuries are caused by wet or icy surfaces, loose flooring or rugs, poor lighting, uneven surfaces, or obstacles like uncovered cables. You should also ensure that employees wear proper footgear.
2. Getting struck by or caught in moving machinery: These injuries can happen to anyone who works with heavy machinery, but they are most common in factories, on farms, and in construction. The injuries sustained here are horrifying: crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, blindness and even worse. Proper machine safeguards, operator training, and protective clothing are absolute musts.
3. Vehicle-related accidents: The possibilities include hitting something, getting hit by something, getting stuck under an overturned vehicle, and more. Make sure you assess who’s at risk, and where accidents might occur. And, make sure prevention measures are put in place.
4. Fire and explosions: Caused by faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustibles or open flames, the types of injuries sustained in a fire or explosion run the gamut from respiratory damage to burns to disfigurement. (OSHA’s hazard communication standards go a long way toward helping workers avoid injury.)
5. Repetitive stress and overexertion injuries: Musculoskeletal disorders hit the pocketbook hard. Back pain complaints alone cost employers more than $7B annually, and lead to more than 100M lost workdays. Repetitive stress injuries comprise more than 100 different types of job-induced injuries and can be caused by improper lifting, no breaks from work, and constant typing and keying.
Running and growing a business is hard work, we know. It is our sincere hope that these tips will help you avoid disruptions and allow you to continue thriving.