Unsafe Practices at Work That Lead to Injuries
Safety in the workplace is an essential concern for employers and employees. Accidents in the workplace lead to injuries, lost time at work, medical expenses, decreased productivity, and costs that affect the company’s bottom line. Most businesses have safety procedures discouraging unsafe practices at work, but a workplace injury is always possible.
Below, we will explore some ways workplace injuries happen and what can be done to prevent them.
Lack of Appropriate Safety Education
Employers owe their employees the proper training so that they can avoid harming themselves or each other. By not providing such training, a company exposes its workers and others on a jobsite to risks associated with their jobs and the equipment or machinery they are exposed to or operate that can lead to injuries and, sadly, even fatalities.
Listed below are some examples of how poor or nonexistent training can lead to workplace injuries:
- Machinery and equipment require proper training to be used safely. If this is absent, injuries inevitably occur.
- Lockout/tagout procedures for equipment maintenance can cause injuries if the training is inadequate.
- Deficiency in training on how to handle chemicals and other hazardous materials.
- Improper lifting causes many on-the-job injuries due to insufficient training on techniques to prevent damage.
To prevent injuries caused by a lack of training, employers must ensure that each of their employees is supplied with the training they need before they begin their duties. This training should be updated as needed so that the employees are aware of alterations to the equipment or safety protocols surrounding them.
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Failure to use personal protective equipment (PPE) can lead to severe work related injuries and possible fatalities in the workplace. PPE protects workers from hazards on the job, like exposure to chemicals, protection from noise, and insulation from physical injuries. When employees fail to use their PPE, the risk that they will be harmed by or exposed to hazardous materials increases.
Examples of PPE
Below are some examples of PPE and the injuries that it protects against. PPE such as this should be available to all employees. Requiring it to be worn by employees can reduce the number of injuries and their severity. Below are some examples of PPE and the injuries that they protect against.
- Headgear, such as hard hats, protects employees from head injuries
- Employees should be provided with appropriate gloves to prevent exposure to chemicals and/or to avoid burns.
- Respirators can protect employees against inhaling dangerous substances.
- Eye protection, such as safety glasses or goggles, is used to protect the eyes from hazards.
- Noise-canceling devices like earplugs or earmuffs can protect employees from hearing loss or damage.
PPE can work wonders, but only if it is provided to and used by all employees. Though making it available is essential, all employees must also be trained in its use.
Unsuitable Use of Tools and Equipment
Employees sometimes do not use equipment or tools correctly when on the job. When improperly used, tools and equipment can become damaged. These defects can increase the risk of injuries.
Here are a few examples of improper tool use or equipment that can cause injuries:
- Using a ladder that is damaged or is not adequately anchored can lead to accidents causing injuries.
- Failing to refrain from using a tool not made for your job can be very problematic.
- Operating saws and cutting tools without proper training and PPE can result in injury.
- Electrical equipment with damage or that is ungrounded causes injuries.
- Operating heavy equipment, such as a forklift, or front-end loader, requires thorough training or certification. An employer failing to train an employee appropriately can lead to severe injuries.
To prevent workplace injuries that occur due to improper use of tools and equipment, employers have a responsibility to make sure everyone is properly trained and understands equipment safety. Employers are also accountable for regularly providing equipment maintenance and for inspecting each tool and piece of equipment to ensure they are in proper working order.
Poor Housekeeping Practices
Poor housekeeping causes more problems than the mental distractions that come from clutter. Workplaces that are cluttered and dirty provide ample opportunities for injuries. The following is a list of possible accidents that occur when housekeeping practices are not prioritized:
- Clutter can lead to fire hazards, especially if the exits or windows are blocked.
- Workplace slip, trip, and fall accidents can be blamed on clutter and dirty workspaces.
- When hygiene standards are low, infectious diseases can spread rapidly.
- Cluttered walkways and work areas.
- Wet or slippery floors.
- Obstructed fire extinguishers and emergency exits.
- Overcrowded storage areas increase the chances of something falling on an employee.
- Accumulating trash and debris creates an unsanitary atmosphere, potentially causes fire hazards, and can attract vermin and insects
An employer’s goal should be to keep their workers safe. This chance of keeping them safe and productive is aided by a clean and tidy workplace. Employers should implement scheduled cleaning by their employees and/or outside cleaning services.
Fatigue and Overexertion Lead to Injuries in the Workplace
Employees who are overtired or overworked may not be able to perform the duties they are expected to complete safely. Exhaustion leads to accidents that cause injuries. Here are some examples of fatigue and overexertion that can be problematic:
- Working without appropriate breaks
- Long hours, often working overtime
- Lifting heavy objects without being trained or having proper assistance
- Repetitive motions, especially when the job lacks proper breaks
- Extreme weather conditions, such as hot environments without breaks to hydrate or icy conditions without proper protection from frostbite or the elements
- Extended periods of driving or operating heavy equipment without proper breaks to rest
Employers should be aware of their employees’ work schedules and physical limitations and be sensitive to them. Employers should encourage adequate breaks throughout the workday, hydration, and relief from extreme weather when needed.
If You Have Experienced a Workplace Injury, Contact Us.
The significant impact that workplace injuries have on both employees and employers deserves addressing. Employers should proactively address proper safety at their places of business, so employees are provided with a safe and secure work environment. If your employer has ignored safety precautions California work injury lawyers are ready to analyze your workplace issues.