No one anticipates becoming the victim of a workplace injury. However, the sad truth is that workplace accidents and injuries are far from uncommon. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that a staggering 4.6 million workers are injured on the job every year.
While it’s clear that some jobs are more dangerous than others—think logging, construction, and farming—accidents and injuries can happen in any industry. Even office workers have the potential to slip, fall, or develop repetitive strain injuries over time.
It may also come as a surprise that the most common work-related injuries don’t involve dramatic explosions or even motor vehicle accidents. On the contrary, most work-related injuries result from ordinary activities, such as typing, walking, and lifting heavy objects.
5 Tips for Preventing Workplace Injuries
While all employees have the right to work in a safe environment, workers also have a responsibility to take an active role in keeping themselves safe. There are a number of things workers should do to minimize their likelihood of sustaining an injury on the job.
- Workers are encouraged to take regular breaks from their work activities to avoid developing a repetitive strain injury. Taking a few minutes to stretch or walk around helps prevent muscles from becoming overstressed.
- Workers who do a lot of lifting or pulling at work should avoid bending, reaching, and twisting while lifting heavy objects. Remember to lift with the legs, rather than the back.
- Employees working with or near machines or equipment should always wear high-visibility protective gear. Hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, earplugs, and shoes help keep workers safe if an accident occurs.
- If workers notice a pattern of bad housekeeping practices around their workplace, they should notify their employer. Many slips and falls could be avoided by ensuring floors are clean and free of clutter.
- Workers who drive for their job should exercise care and follow traffic laws at all times. It is also good practice for drivers to take a break every two hours to stretch and rehydrate.
Although some accidents can’t be avoided, taking these measures will help employees reduce their risk of sustaining some of the most common work injuries.
What to Do After Sustaining an Injury
Accidents can happen even in the “safest” workplaces. Therefore, it’s critical for all employees to understand their rights if they are injured.
For example, most injured workers are entitled to receive compensation for medical treatment and lost wages. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin laws require employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, which is designed to take care of employees suffering from work-related health conditions.
If you have been hurt at work, consider calling an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney to help you file your claim. A trusted, local lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.