Workplace accidents can happen to anyone.
While some professions are inherently more ‘risky’ than others (e.g. a builder is more likely than a marketing manager to get hit by a falling hammer), there’s no such thing as an injury-proof job. All industries, environments and roles come with some degree of risk – nobody is immune to workplace injuries.
Here’s a list of some of the most common workplace injuries you should be wary of.
Lower Back Pain
This all-too-common injury affects many workers, particularly those whose job involves sitting for most or all of the day. Lower back pain is the most common cause of disability and is also one of the leading reasons for people taking time off work.
To combat back pain in your workplace:
- Educate yourself and your colleagues about ergonomic best practices (e.g. the best posture for sitting at your desk, how often
to stand and what stretches to do).
- Invest in equipment that supports these ergonomic best practices (e.g. desks that can be adjusted for sitting and standing).
- Make sure to keep an ice pack in your workplace’s first-aid kit to help reduce the discomfort of workers who are experiencing
lower back pain.
Impact from a Falling Object
You may think falling object accidents only happen on construction sites. But if your workplace has tall shelves or high storage areas, this is a real risk for you too. If something heavy falls onto your head or your foot, this can cause a serious injury.
To reduce the risk of falling objects in your workplace:
- Ensure all stationery and stock are organised and securely stored.
- Nominate a room or corner specifically for storage purposes so that staff only have to spend time near those high shelves when
they’re actually accessing or storing items.
We all know how dangerous fatigue can be for drivers. However, we often overlook how risky this can be in the workplace. Over-exerting yourself can lead to sprains and serious injuries, especially if your work is physically demanding (e.g. heavy lifting or using manual machinery).
To fight fatigue in your workplace:
- Create and implement policies about taking breaks (including how regular and long these breaks should be).
- Be observant and intervene if you notice a colleague over-exerting themselves.
- Make sure your first-aid kit includes a pain-relief spray just in case anyone does strain themselves.
Mental Health Problems
Workplace fatigue doesn’t just put you at risk of physical strains; it can also lead to mental health concerns like stress and anxiety. Whether there’s already an underlying condition or not, factors like long hours and difficult colleagues can lead to negative consequences for your emotional wellbeing.
To reduce the chances of mental health problems in your workplace:
- Recognise and improve any workplace policies or situations that could reasonably contribute to a colleague’s mental health concerns.
- Integrate mental health promotion strategies into your organisational processes.
- Take an appropriate amount of annual leave – even if you’re just ‘recharging’ with a holiday at home.
Trips and Falls
Tripping and falling is an accident that really can happen in any workplace – and it does. Quite often. All it takes is an out-of-place cable or an unsigned spill to leave a worker with cuts, bruises, sprains, or worse. The injury sustained can be even more severe if you fall from a height (e.g. down a flight of stairs or off a piece of scaffolding).
To lower the risk of trips and falls in your workplace:
- Immediately place warning signs around any wet floors and other temporary hazards.
- Rectify any permanent hazards (e.g. computer cords that stretch over a walkway or a storage closet with boxes scattered around
- Keep your first-aid kit well stocked with Band-Aids and bandages for when trips and falls do occur.
Injuries from Repetition
Doing the same thing for hours on end can lead to severe strains on your body. This can include obvious things like using a jackhammer for too long, but it also applies to looking at a computer screen for an unreasonable length of time.
To combat the risk of repetition-caused injuries:
- Take regular breaks to stretch your muscles and rest your eyes.
- Where possible, swap between varying tasks.
- Have eye drops on hand if necessary.
Your workplace is statistically one of the most likely places for you to sustain an injury – even just based on how much of your time you spend there.
So it makes sense to take all possible precautions to keep yourself and your colleagues safe from these common workplace injuries.