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Accidents and injuries in the workplace are common. Every year, it is estimated that there are 2.3 million workplace accidents or illnesses globally.
These may include simple trips and falls that cause minor injuries, or they cause major life-changing injuries.
Some accidents are due to poor training and support, while others might be down to a lack of adequate health and safety procedures. Sometimes there may have been no assessments of risks or a severe lack of overall consideration to employee health and safety on the part of the company.
Whenever there is a workplace injury, a proper assessment needs to be made of the cause of the injury. It’s essential that workplaces need to work out how to prevent this type of accident from happening again.
If you’ve been injured in an accident at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation policy should cover the treatment. The insurance policy will allow you to receive the treatment you need to get back to work as soon as possible. Choosing the right medical practice is critical so that you can receive the right treatment for your injury.
In this article, we’ll be exploring several different questions. What are the most common work-related injuries? What can you do to avoid these? What are your employer’s responsibilities with regards to protecting you from these risks? If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a workplace accident, what can you do about? Learn about what to expect when you visit a medical practice that specializes in treats injuries from work accident
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According to the National Safety Council, every 7 seconds someone is injured on the job. However, injuries caused by accidents in the workplace are always avoidable.
The top three injuries that keep workers away from their jobs include:
Injuries that are caused by over-exertion account for a total of 31% lost workdays. This type of injury can be caused by lifting and lowering heavy items as well as carrying out repetitive motions.
26% of all of the lost workdays are caused by injuries involving objects or equipment. This may mean the worked getting trapped, crushed, pressed, or struck by an item or piece of machinery.
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace cause a total of 26% of all lost workdays.
There are different risks involved depending on the workplace. For example, you’d expect that office workers should see a lot less risk than people working in manual roles. However, it is essential that in all workplaces where there is a high risk of injury, that businesses take the right measures to protect their workers.
The workplaces that see the highest level of work-related injuries include:
Aside from these areas of industry, it is important to understand that workplace accidents can happen in any sector. This includes areas such as office work and retail.
With the highest percentage of injuries being caused by overexertion, let’s explore what causes this type of injury, and what can be done by both the employee and the employer to lower the risk.
Overexertion injuries will typically result in a strain or a torn muscle, ligament, or tendon. These could be to any part of the body including arms, legs, neck, or shoulders.
However, many of the most common injuries associated with overexertion are to the back.
Where these injuries affect the back, they can be quite problematic, debilitating, and can prevent someone from working or enjoying their usual life. It can stop you from being able to sleep and can affect your quality of life.
Back pain caused by overexertion may be related to spinal injuries. Slipped, herniated, or prolapsed discs can be severely painful to anyone who has them, and treatment can not only be costly, it can take a long time.
Firstly, a doctor will need to make a full assessment of your back using X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. From this, they will be able to find out the extent of your back pain and place you on a treatment plan.
Treatment may include the use of anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants. Anti-inflammatories may need to be injected to have the maximum effect.
Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy. This might include strength-building exercises that help you to regain your movement.
Other physical therapy treatments may include heat, massage, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. These types of therapy and designed to increase blood flow around the inflamed area to speed up the healing process.
Typically these types of overexertion injuries are caused by lifting, carrying, pulling, or pushing heavy or bulky items.
It might be down to poor posture when lifting and carrying, or it could be because of a lack of support or lifting equipment.
As overexertion injuries are the most common types of a work-related injury, it is essential that all employees are mindful of this fact and are aware of the best practices for moving heavy or bulky objects.
Firstly, assess the weight and the size of the load that you’re moving to. Can this be done alone, or do you need to get assistance? Also, are there any tools or equipment that you can make use of that will help you? These might include trolleys, pump-trucks, or lifting gear.
Secondly, look at where you are taking the item. Is there a clear route? Are there any obstacles along the route? Do you need to worry about stairways or door frames? Are there different levels of floor involved?
Make sure that you make all of the necessary preparations on the route to make carrying the item as easy as possible. Once you have made these assessments, you’ll be able to start lifting and carrying the object.
If you are lifting it, keep your back straight at all times. Lower yourself down with your feet flat on the floor and make sure that you grip the item well. Try and carry the item in a way that gives the best balance of weight. If all of the weight is to one side, this may cause an accident or injury.
Take breaks as needed, and don’t rush. If you need to readjust your balance or your hold on the item, place the item down and pick it back up again.
If you are lifting and carrying with the assistance of others, check that everyone else is safe and that they are comfortable with the load.
While employees carrying out this type of work will need to take measures to keep themselves safe and avoid injuries, the employer is responsible for making sure that this happens.
There are several ways that an employer should work to keep their employees safe from overexertion injuries.
The first step that all employers should take is to carry out a full assessment. This will look at the type of work that may need to be carried out, work out who will do it, where it will be done, and explore the tools and resources that are available to prevent accidents and injuries.
Risk assessments should be carried out periodically, particularly if there are any changes to the workplace. By carrying out a risk assessment, employers should be identifying areas that are causes for concern. These must then be addressed.
In addition to a risk assessment, an employer’s duty of care to their employees should be to ensure that they have all of the necessary training needed so that they can do their jobs safely.
Training should be thorough, documented, and reviewed regularly. Where required, an employer should seek external advice from specialist health and safety training providers to get the right resources and support for their teams.
If there will be extensive tasks that require moving and carrying large or heavy items, the right equipment should be provided to all employees to help them to carry out their job.
This could mean trolleys for moving items, pallet trucks, harnesses, and pulleys, or forklift trucks. There should be a sufficient amount of equipment to match the size of the team who will need it as well as the workload.
Where equipment is provided, the team will need to be trained to specifically use each item in a safe way.
There should also be regular inspections of the items to make sure that they are fit for use. And any equipment should be serviced often and be well-maintained.
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Just because you don’t work in physically demanding roles, it doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from injuries. Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are an extremely commonplace injury.
The following job roles require workers to carry out repetitive tasks.
Of course, there are plenty of other roles where people may develop injuries over a long period of time by carrying out the same task over-and-over.
You’ve probably heard of epicondylitis under its more commonly used name, Tennis Elbow. This is where the tendons that connect the muscles in the forearm with the outside of your elbow become inflamed.
Tennis elbow can be very painful. If it’s not treated quickly, it can leave lasting damage to the muscles and the tendons.
The types of roles in which people may be most at risk of developing tennis elbow include painters and decorators, plumbers, butchers, and carpenters. The condition is caused when your elbow is overloaded while carrying out repeated motions.
The early-warning signs that you may have tennis elbow include losing the strength in your grip, coupled with having pain on the outside of the elbow.
One of the most common repetitive strain injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome. This affects between 4-10 million people throughout the United States. One of the most frequent causes of this type of injury is the repetitive motions associated with typing on a keyboard or using a computer mouse.
If your job requires you to type a lot, then you’re at high risk of developing carpal tunnel. For example, the average person types at around 41 words per minute; however, a professional typist may type at anywhere between 65-75 words. Over the course of a day, this amounts to hundreds of thousands of keystrokes.
Over a long period of time, this repeated motion can cause swelling in the wrist. The injury is caused by pressure placed on the nerves in the wrists. This pressure will cause swelling on the nerves and tendons that are associated with flexing your fingers. As these nerves pass through the narrow carpal tunnel in your wrist, the swelling will cause pain, weakness, and numbness.
The early warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling in your fingers or difficulties when picking up objects.
One repetitive strain injury that can be caused by repetitive tasks, particularly ones that require overhead lifting, is tendinitis.
Tendinitis occurs when one of your tendons connecting your muscle and bone becomes inflamed. The symptoms associated with tendinitis include swelling and tenderness around where the tendon attached to the muscle.
Cushioning your muscles, bones, and tendons you have fluid-filled sacks. These are called your bursae. Bursitis is a condition brought on by these sacs becoming inflamed. This is often around the shoulder, hip, or elbow. However, it can happen around any join that carries out repeated motions, including knees or toes when they are used to operate the pedals on machinery.
There are several other forms of repetitive strain injury that may be common in the workplace. These include:
Employees should be mindful of any pain, numbness, or tingling sensations that they have in any part of their body caused by carrying out a repeated action.
Take breaks away from equipment or computers. If you can manage your own workload, alternate tasks so that you’re not stuck doing the same thing all day.
Preventing repetitive strain injuries in the workplace should be of significant importance to employers. After all, if they have staff who are off work due to injuries, or that are unable to carry out their duties properly, it will affect productivity.
There are several ways that employers can reduce risks and help prevent repetitive strain injuries. The most significant things that can be done include investing in ergonomic workplaces.
This means buying suitable adjustable chairs that provide the right working posture. Choosing ergonomically designed technology such as keyboards will help reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, desks that allow employees to be able to reach their keyboards comfortably, and well-positioned monitors that are free from glare that can be angled well.
In addition to providing the right equipment for the job, employers should also be providing training that encourages working techniques that prevent this type of injury from happening.
If someone is likely to be on a repeated task for too long, managers need to factor this in and switch up the types of duty that employees are on.
Injuries caused by contact with other objects could include any of the following:
Many of these types of injuries will occur in heavy industries such as manufacturing, construction, or in sectors such as shipping where there is a reliance on heavy machinery and there is a lot of moving objects.
When coming into contact with objects in the workplace, there are numerous injuries that a worker could be faced with. Some of these can be significant. These might include:
Work accidents aren’t just painful. They are stressful, too. You are worried about getting back to living your life as soon as possible, and our doctors can help.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you might return to work with some restrictions. If that is necessary, your doctor will provide your employer and the insurance company with the proper documentation. Don't delay, call us today (888) 734-8120 to make your appointment.
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