In 2018 alone, there were 2.8 million nonfatal work accidents reported across the country. Some of the industries that saw the highest number of injuries included retail sales, stock clerks, laborers and freight workers, and shipping and receiving clerks.
There are also careers that present a higher risk of fatality from being injured on the job, including:
- Agricultural workers
- Construction workers
But, almost anyone can get injured in the workplace, even if you put on a suit and tie each day. No matter the career path, workplace accidents are dangerous for a variety of reasons. If you own a company, it’s important to understand the risks. One of the best ways to do that is to look at as much data as possible surrounding workplace accidents and use it to determine how you can implement preventative changes.
Identifying Workplace Accident Risks — Big and Small
The most common workplace accidents typically involve slips and falls. Whether someone spills something in the lobby kitchen or misses a ‘wet floor’ sign, it’s easy for almost anyone to trip or slip, and seriously end up hurting themselves. On a warehouse floor, that risk can become even greater. Most workers are preoccupied with the tasks at hand that they may not always notice what’s beneath their feet. It’s no surprise, then, that 5% of warehouse workers experience some type of injury at work each year.
Of course, slips and falls aren’t the only issues. Electrical hazards can also be a big problem, including overloaded circuits and frayed or torn wires. If those are exposed, especially in a factory or warehouse setting, they may not always be easy to see and someone could hurt themselves. Factory workers are also susceptible to conveyor injuries, especially if there are no emergency-stop mechanisms in place.
These risks can cause a variety of different injuries, but some of the most common aside from slipping and falling include:
- Muscle strains
- Overextension injuries
- Head injuries (from falling objects)
How Accidents Can Impact Your Business
When a worker gets hurt at work, it’s more than just scary for them and your other employees — it can have a negative impact on your company in a variety of ways. First, there are indirect costs that you’ll have to deal with, including lost productivity, hiring and training a replacement, and administrative time.
However, the direct costs you’ll face can be much higher. For example, if a workplace accident caused an injury and it’s discovered that you were not complying with OSHA regulations, you could face substantial fines. General violations can cost a company up to $7,000.
Additionally, you may have to pay for medical expenses for the injured worker. If any wrongdoing or negligence was involved, they may also take legal action in which you will have to pay court fees, and may end up reaching an expensive settlement.
Understanding that kind of data, it’s important to know exactly how to prevent those situations from happening. Putting preventative measures in place will reduce the risk of accidents on the job and could potentially save your business thousands of dollars.
Prevention and Protection of Workplace Accidents
So, what can you do to protect your workers? Obviously, all accidents aren’t completely preventable. But, having precautionary measures in place can greatly lower the risk of something negative happening.
One of the best things you can do is to look at the numbers of every situation. Don’t just look at general statistics, but focus on the numbers in your own place of business. Do you have a certain number of accidents each year? What have the trends been like over the last ten years? What seems to be causing most of those accidents?
Think like a logistic professional when it comes to looking at your data and see the big picture. Talk with your workers about some of their safety concerns. As a result, you’ll show:
- Better communication skills
- Listening skills
Letting your employees know you care about their wellbeing can make them more likely to open up and give you real and raw data about what is happening on the workplace floor. So, you can make adjustments as needed to keep them safe.
You can also look toward technology to help you when it comes to keeping your workers safe. Human error is one of the most common causes of accidents, so consider more automation within your factory or warehouse. That could include things like robotic forklifts that keep your employees out of harm’s way.
Data doesn’t lie, even though it can be shocking to see sometimes. By doing your research on national workplace accident trends and then focusing on your own company, you can learn more about how accidents are impacting your business, and what can be done about the most serious threats facing your workers.