Workplace injuries are one of the largest preventable costs that companies incur per year. In a report by the Illinois Department of Public Health published in 2018, a total of 137,000 non-fatal workplace injuries occurred in 2016. Of those cases, 72,400 of those cases led to days away from work, transfer, or work restrictions being placed on the employee. These injuries led to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in production, and even more spent on insurance and medical costs.
Although injuries vary depending on the industry and facility, some of the most common injuries in manufacturing include overextension of the body, contact with equipment and objects, and slips, trips, and falls.
Overextersion can be caused by excessive effort placed by a person to lift push or pull a heavy object. Repetitive motions, common in some work environments, can cause the same amount of damage without the strenuous effort caused from lifting.
One of the leading causes of work-related deaths is caused by contact with objects, according to the National Safety Council. This category includes being struck with or against an object, getting caught in machinery, or caught in collapsing material.
Slips, trips, and falls are the third leading cause of injury overall in the United States, and even more so in the workplace. Over 9 million people were treated in emergency rooms nationwide for fall-related injuries in 2016.
So, what can an employer do to help prevent these kind of injuries in your workplace?
The first thing an employer can do is to provide adequate and ongoing safety training for your employees. Safety education should be an integral part of your work culture – from hiring, training, evaluating, and every step in between.
Second, make sure you maintain an orderly workplace. By keeping production areas clean and clear, you can avoid slips and trips. Marking walkable and non-walkable areas on floors that share foot traffic with forklifts can also help avoid collisions. Making sure employees have access to adequate PPE (personal protection equipment) is crucial to preventing most common workplace injuries.
Finally, focus on the current safety issues in your workplace. Many common issues focus around ergonomics, appropriate staffing of departments, and lack of compliance to employer documented processes by employees. By conducting thorough safety audits and investigations, you will be able to pinpoint the main causes of your workplace incidents.
The risk for workplace injuries will always be there. However, every company should make it their top priority to be prepared and have a plan ready for any issue that may arise. XCEL has a dedicated team of safety specialists who can help you educate and protect your workforce – Contact us for more details!