How Can I Avoid Work Injuries Before They Happen?

Injuries occurring in the workplace can be devastating to your physical health and financial wellbeing. As Dallas work injury attorneys, we can tell you from experience that if you suffer a workplace injury, you could be out of work for an extended period of time, or even indefinitely. You will likely also accumulate a host of medical bills, and may need a period of therapy and recovery before you can return to work, if able. Common workplace injuries include:
  • fires and explosions
  • exposure to toxic chemicals and other environmental hazards
  • work-related transportation accidents
  • slips and falls
  • electrocutions
  • machinery-related accidents
  • trauma from contact with heavy objects

Given the fact that such injuries can drastically disrupt your life, you should do whatever you can to prevent such injuries from occurring in the first place. Below, we’ll share tips from our Dallas work injury attorneys for proven ways to avoid accidents on the job. But first, let’s look at the real impact of workplace accidents in the United States. 

How Can I Avoid Work Injuries Before They Happen?

Workplace Accidents by the Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 880,000 injuries were reported in the workplace. The breakdown of types of injuries included in this overall figure is as follows:
  • 35% of all reported injuries were strains, tears, and sprains
  • 64% of all bone fractures were attributable to industries involved in providing services
  • 11% of all injuries came as a result of lifting or lowering heavy objects
  • 15% of non-fatal workplace accidents resulted from employees being hit by objects or pieces of equipment during the performance of their duties
  • 62% of all slipping, tripping, and falling accidents occurred on a single level of the premises
  • 20% of slipping, tripping, and falling accidents occurred when an employee fell between multiple levels of the building when working.

From these numbers, we can conclude that a large number of workplace accidents involved muscle strains and sprains, due to lifting of heavy objects, presumably beyond the capabilities of the employee.

It can also be concluded that most slip-and-fall accidents occur on a single level of the workplace, although multi-level falls are also an issue.

Employees being hit by equipment was also a significant source of workplace accidents, making it even more critical that there be solid guidelines on how equipment should be used in the work environment.

Tips to Avoid Workplace Accidents

Use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

While it might be a bit cumbersome to wear personal protective equipment while on the job, using appropriate PPE is one of the best ways to avoid workplace injuries and accidents. If PPE is required or encouraged for your job, your supervisor should explain it and enforce it from the very beginning of your employment. Depending on the industry, employees may be instructed in the proper use of:
  • goggles
  • facial protection
  • hard hats
  • safety shoes
  • gloves
  • earplugs or earmuffs

This equipment has been specially designed to provide the maximum amount of protection for employees in high risk work zones, and it can go a long way toward staving off workplace accidents. 

Review the Safety and Wellness Plan

One of the foundations for any safe work environment is to have a solid accident prevention program in place, usually coupled with a wellness program. Such programs should cover all aspects of employee safety as well as promoting generally healthy behavior. If your workplace has a safety plan, be sure to review it regularly; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

A good safety and wellness plan should also encourage employees to identify and report any unsafe behaviors or practices they may see. If you see a co-worker engaging in unsafe behavior, report it. While filing a report may feel unnecessary, remember that their risky behavior doesn’t just impact them; it could also affect the health or wellness of you or another co-worker.

Support new or revised safety measures — it could make all the difference. When a good culture of upholding safety and wellness is established, it becomes much easier to avoid injuries and accidents.

Identify Safety Vulnerabilities

All jobs are unique and have their own practices and procedures. That means they will also have very different concerns about safety. When you take on a new position or have a change in responsibilities, be sure to identify any vulnerabilities that might exist for you. Once you know what could pose a threat — whether it be exposed electrical wiring, heavy machinery, or an elevated work surface — make sure your employer has safety guidelines in place that address how to work safely around them. If not, request them in writing or via email.

Avoid Shortcuts When They Pose a Safety Risk

Some safety requirements may require “extra” steps. When you’re busy or tired, it may seem like a good idea to skip the extra step to become more efficient. However, no shortcuts or time-savings are worth harming your health. For equipment operators, for example, getting in and out of equipment is one of the most common causes of injuries. However, you can lower the risk of being injured by following these steps:
  • Inspect your boots or gloves. Wipe off any excess mud or other materials that may cause you to slip.
  • Ensure you have a secure foot or hand hold before pulling yourself up or getting down. Use a step ladder if necessary.
  • Slow down: don’t hop up or jump down from equipment.

Regularly Inspect Company Vehicles and Equipment

You might be surprised to know that workplace driving accidents are responsible for $60 billion of expense every single year. The Occupational Safety and Health Act organization (OSHA) monitors this kind of activity and strongly recommends that vehicles be regularly inspected to avoid contributing to this staggering sum.

Follow your employer’s protocol if they already require regular vehicle inspections. Or, advocate that your work vehicles be periodically maintained. If the vehicle is not operating properly, stop driving it and alert your supervisor right away.

Organize the Workplace

Surprisingly, poor housekeeping contributes to a great many injuries and accidents around the workplace. While this might not seem like a serious issue, messy and unorganized conditions can definitely produce a safety hazard and greatly increase the number of accidents that occur.

Make sure that your workplace has clearly visible markings for all footpaths and vehicle paths. Be sure to clean up any debris laying around at the end of each day and throughout your shift. Establish dedicated stations which can be used to clean up spills or gather loose materials.

By maintaining an orderly workplace and clearing trip hazards out from underfoot, many avoidable accidents and injuries can be prevented.

How Can I Avoid Work Injuries Before They Happen?

Contact Our Dallas Work Injury Attorneys

In the United States, more than 3 million people are injured in workplaces every year. Workplace injuries can be catastrophic for those involved and costly to employers who may have to pay hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in settlements and medical expenses.

By taking the precautions outlined above, such as using PPE, establishing a safety and wellness plan, or keeping the work area organized, you can help prevent a workplace injury before it happens. However, if you or a loved one are facing the effects of a workplace injury, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for experienced legal counsel. Our Dallas work injury attorneys can refer you to the right doctor to treat your injuries and make sure you collect the damages to which you may be entitled. To learn more or speak to our team, call us at 972-960-0000.