While workplace injuries and accidents are most commonly associated with sectors like construction and engineering, they can occur in any industry, including to people who work in a supposedly ‘comfortable’ office environment. Of course, some people may be at a higher risk of certain injuries than others depending on their role and responsibilities. An employer has a duty to provide staff with a safe working environment, but no one can afford to be complacent with their own safety and there are several precautions everyone can take to minimize the risk of workplace injuries occurring.
Here are 10 of the most common workplace injuries that both employers and employees need to be aware of.
1. Trips, slips and falls
Some of the most common accidents and injuries are due to people tripping over obstacles or slipping on wet floors. To prevent these incidents everyone in the workplace should work together to remove potential trip hazards, uneven floors and clean up spillages as soon as possible.
2. Walking into hazards and objects
On a similar theme to tripping and slipping, many people injure themselves every year by walking into an obstacle such as a pane of glass, door or cupboard.
3. Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
RSI is caused when someone repeats the same physical task which causes cumulative damage over time. Often RSI affects the wrist, elbow, hands, forearm, neck and shoulders.
4. Strained muscles
Lifting heavy objects without the proper lifting techniques, or even twisting the back or neck in the wrong way while performing a seemingly simple task, can cause severe and lasting pain in terms of both neck and back strains.
5. Vehicle collisions
Collisions and crashes can occur between motor vehicles or forklifts on the premises and can have devastating consequences, particularly if the drivers are not wearing seat belts or other relevant protective gear.
6. Scratches, lacerations and cuts
Whether in an office, a warehouse, a restaurant or any other workplace, sharp and pointed objects can cause a lot of damage to skin and even eyes. It’s essential that protective eye wear and clothing is worn when appropriate and that adequate safety procedures are followed. According to the eye injury laws there are several eye injuries which could entitle the victim to compensation.
7. Being struck by falling objects
When objects fall or fly through the air they can cause scratches or cuts but in some extreme cases could lead to serious injury such as head trauma, loss of sight or even brain damage.
8. Fights between colleagues
It’s a surprising thought, but one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace is physical fighting between colleagues. When tensions are high, personalities clash and/or people believe they have a grievance it can lead to violent outbursts.
9. Exposure to toxicity
People who work with potentially dangerous substances such as fumes, gases, dusts or acids may be at risk of severe injury if they breathe the substance into their lungs or it comes into contact with their eyes or skin.
10. Hearing loss through exposure to noise
Excessive noise in the workplace can cause lasting damage to a person’s hearing. This damage can be caused suddenly by an extremely loud noise or can worsen gradually because of long term exposure without adequate noise protection.