The best way to avoid workplace injuries is to see the dangers in advance and learn how to avoid them. All too often, people overlook clear hazards and put themselves or others in dangerous positions.
As a worker, this may not even mean that you personally make a mistake. It could be a supervisor or a coworker who overlooks the risk, but they may still cause an accident that leaves you with serious injuries. No matter how it happens, you’re looking at time out of work and serious medical bills.
To help you avoid that situation, here are a few common hazards:
1. Too much clutter
When the workplace is simply too full or not cleaned up properly, dangers abound. A worker leaves parts and materials scattered around on the floor, a significant trip hazard. Another worker spills something on the floor and doesn’t clean it up promptly, leaving a slick spot where people can fall. Yet another worker stacks items too high in a warehouse or a store, and the unbalanced stack eventually falls to the floor below.
2. Jobs above ground level
Even working just a few feet above ground level increases the danger. A worker trips and falls off of a scaffold. Another worker falls when a ladder, which was set up incorrectly, collapses on the job. Still another worker falls from a catwalk without proper railings. Heights are a serious risk and falls lead to a startling number of workplace injuries and fatalities.
3. Small spaces
When workers don’t have much room, the risks increase because the consequences of an issue can become dire. For instance, workers in confined spaces often fear fires or toxic gases, which can quickly prove lethal before anyone has a chance to escape. Workers may feel comfortable in small spaces, but that does not always mean they’re safe.
4. Mobile machinery
Heavy machinery is a must on many jobs, especially in the construction industry. But there is an inherent danger to working around backhoes, cranes, front-end loaders, forklifts and many other machines.
For example, a worker doesn’t know they’ve walked into the path of a machine. At the same time, the driver can’t hear anything over the sound of the engine. To make matters worse, the driver is in a hurry, trying to meet a deadline, and starts rushing. It’s easy to see how fast a devastating accident could occur.
Just knowing what the hazards look like does not mean you can avoid all accidents and injuries. If you do get hurt on the job, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.