Frequent Types of Workplace Accidents and Injuries
Every 7 seconds, there is an injury in the workplace. Although some people work in more dangerous environments and industries than others, everyone deserves to be safe at work. One of the first ways to remain safe at work is to learn about workplace injuries and what steps can be taken to prevent them. Some of the most common workplace accidents and injuries to look out for include:
1. Slips and Falls
Slips and falls can occur in any work environment, from an office to a restaurant. Because of this, they make up 33% of workplace injuries. The results can vary from minor injuries that do not require medical assistance to a fatal injury.
Stop slips and falls by ensuring that all spills in the workplace are cleaned up immediately. Be sure to place signs near spills if the floor is wet. You also need to make sure that you are wearing the proper footwear at work, and be understanding if your employer is strict about this. It is better to send an employee home to put on proper shoes than for them to be injured while working. For those who work in high altitude environments, proper harnesses and other safety equipment are always necessary.
2. Fire and Explosions
Some workplaces deal with flames or flammable materials. When handled improperly, this can result in a fire or an explosion. In these cases, every employee on the floor could be injured as a result of one other employee’s mistake.
Take all training seriously. If you have not been properly trained or are unsure of how to do your job safely, say something! You should also go through training again after a couple of years to get a refresher. Make sure that your employers have the necessary safety checks in place to ensure that equipment is properly handled and stored.
3. Cuts and Lacerations
If you work with sharp objects such as knives or dangerous machinery, you have to be especially careful at work. If you are not careful, you may end up with a missing appendage or serious injury.
Every employee must be properly trained on how to use all sharp objects. Those who are not using them properly need to be disciplined immediately and shown the correct way to use the equipment. Wear protective gear when needed as well.
4. Toxic Fumes
Working near toxic fumes can cause respiratory problems, disease, or even death. You may be surprised by the number of toxic chemicals at your workplace.
Employers should make the implications of breathing in fumes very clear with warning signs. If handling these types of materials is part of your job, learn the proper ways to handle them. If you are unsure, ask for further training. Utilize the correct safety equipment. If you do not have the right safety equipment, talk to your supervisors. Finally, if you think that you have been inhaling toxic fumes, you should go to a doctor right away.
5. Vehicle Collisions
When you drive a truck, car, or even a forklift at work, there is the inherent possibility of a crash. Make sure you have received adequate training before driving any vehicle. You should always wear a seatbelt as well. As with any job, you want to ensure that you are coherent while at work. Never use any alcohol or drugs at the workplace or prior to working or driving.
What to Do When You’ve Been Injured
If you’ve been injured at the workplace, you may be wondering what to do. First, let your leadership team know as soon as possible and bring any witnesses with you. Create a report about what happened. If you require medical attention, go to the doctor as soon as you can.
After treating your injuries, you should also file a workers’ compensation claim so that you will not have to spend money on any injury-related medical attention without being compensated. Workers’ compensation should also cover part of your income missed due to recovering from a workplace injury. However, workers’ compensation will unlikely suffice for your missed income and trauma due to the accident.
For this reason, you may consider filing a third-party lawsuit along with your workers’ compensation claim so that you will be completely reimbursed for missed income and for the hindrance that the workplace accident caused. A third-party claim involves filing a lawsuit against a company other than your workplace or a non-employer that was at fault for the accident. Filing a third-party claim is more complicated and time consuming than simply filing for workers’ compensation. However, in doing so you may be reimbursed for the time you spent at home recuperating from the injury whereas you might not otherwise.
If you decide to take legal action against a third-party, make sure that you have grounds for filing the lawsuit. Evidence of a third-party’s wrong-doing and responsibility for your safety must be provided. Keep medical records pertaining to the accident and try to find witnesses when the injury occurred. By filing against a third-party in addition to workers’ compensation, you have a greater chance of being fully reimbursed for a lack of income and medical expenses due to a workplace injury.