Workplace injuries are unfortunately a common occurrence in the United States. The latest all-inclusive report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that among private industry employers, there were 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. This equates to about 3 in every 100 full-time workers being injured on the job.
Despite advances being made in workplace safety, employers don't always do everything they can to prevent injury. Slip and fall attorney Victor Dante says, "A worksite must be handled in certain ways to ensure accidents can be prevented, some organizations allow conditions to become unsafe either as a cost-cutting measure or due to simple negligence." This means it's important to take steps to protect yourself on the job.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can protect yourself from workplace negligence and on-the-job injuries.
1. Make Sure You're Up to Date on All Safety Training
All workplaces are required to provide safety training for potentially risky or dangerous situations. Make sure you engage in all safety training methods offered by your employer, and familiarize yourself with any safety policies and procedures that are in place. Look for OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) approved safety training whenever possible.
2. Be Aware of the Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries
There are many ways people get injured at work, but some are more common than others. In fact, a large number of workplace injuries are entirely preventable. If you know the potential ways you could get hurt at work, you can take steps to prevent possible injuries for you and your coworkers.
Some of the most common preventable workplace injuries include:
- Overexertion injuries due to bending, lifting, carrying, or throwing objects
- Slips and falls caused by spills, loose wires, bad flooring, or poor lighting
- Repetitive motion injuries caused by excessive computer use or typing
- Falling object injuries
3. Take Care of Potential Injury Conditions When You See Them
Once you're familiar with common ways you can be injured at work, keep an eye out for potential hazards that can cause injury. For example, clean up spills or debris that may cause a slip and fall injury, or report other slip and fall hazards such as loose wires and bad flooring to management.
Keep your workplace maintained and orderly, checking for unbalanced boxes that could fall, spills in the break room, and other hazards. You should also make sure to wear any protective gear that is required for your job, such as proper footwear, goggles or hard hats, gloves, aprons, or hardhats.
4. Only Use Equipment You've Been Properly Trained on Using
Another common type of workplace injury occurs when people use machinery or equipment improperly. It's important to know the correct operating procedures and safety protocols before using any equipment, whether it's a photo copier or a forklift.
If you're not trained for using a piece of equipment or machinery, don't try to use or fix it yourself. Contact a technician or other coworker who is qualified to operate the machinery.
5. Know the Proper Procedures for Reporting Accidents in Your Workplace
Finally, make sure you know the right way to report problems at work, so any potentially unsafe situation can be addressed as soon as possible. Find out what channels should be used to report unsafe conditions. If there is an accident or injury at your workplace, you should be aware of the proper procedures for reporting them so swift action can be taken.