Anyone in any occupation has the potential to get injured at work, but three particular work injuries are most common. If you have suffered one of these injuries, or have been involved in any type of workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation. But, as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Being familiar with the most common types of injuries, and methods of avoiding them, might be the only prevention you need.
Slips & Falls
Slips and falls are among the most commonly experienced workplace accidents. In fact, injuries from slips and falls account for about 95 million missed work days each year. These accidents frequently occur on wet, dirty or uneven floors, or when a worker trips on something left on the floor. The consequences of slip and fall accidents can be severe: back injuries, head injuries, broken bones, and cuts and bruises…just to name a few. To avoid slips and falls:
- Make sure your work area has adequate lighting so that you can spot hazards.
- Wear proper shoes. Shoes with non slippery, thick heels and tightly tied laces are best for preventing slips and falls.
- Watch for hazardous weather conditions, like rain, snow or wet leaves tracked on the floor. Make sure someone is assigned to check and remedy the condition of floors at regular intervals.
- Use moisture absorbent mats in times of bad weather and make sure coworkers clean up spills immediately.
- Look for warning signs.
- Keep hallways free of clutter and avoid the use of electrical cords across common walk spaces.
If you work in construction or at a plant or factory, you are at special risk for a machine injury. These injuries often occur when fingers, limbs, hair, jewelry or clothing becomes entangled in a machine. To avoid machine injuries:
- Do not work on a machine without proper machine guards.
- Always wear required safety equipment.
- Never interfere with a moving machine; always shut it down first.
- Avoid operating machines for which you have not had proper training.
- Make sure all loose clothing and accessories are secured.
- Secure long hair behind your head and off your shoulders.
- Inspect machines regularly to make sure they are working properly.
A MA work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.
Most jobs involve some type of lifting. Improper lifting can lead to serious injuries, including damage to vertebrae, pulled, strained or torn muscles, nerve damage, and joint damage. These types of injuries are most common in construction, with almost 100,000 employees suffering lifting-related injuries each year. To avoid becoming one of them:
- Be cognizant of your strength and fitness, and avoid lifting things that are too heavy. Ask for assistance when needed.
- Never lift with your back! We often hear this advice, but the reasons aren’t always clear. Back muscles are much less powerful and strong than leg muscles. For this reason, heavy weight should be borne by the leg muscles instead. To do this, keep your back straight and your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lift at the same time that you extend your knees straight.
- Never twist or bend the back while holding or moving heavy objects; keep heavy loads close to the body between your knees and shoulders
- Take frequent breaks when lifting or moving heavy objects.
- Use mechanical aids such as conveyors, slides, chutes, hoists, adjustable lift tables, and hand trucks to help you with a heavy lift.