Top Injuries to Prevent: Safety Topics - January 2019 - Week 1


Happy New Year! Kick off the New Year with a Safety Focus

With a new year upon us, there's no better time than the present to reevaluate the safety of your workplace. Each year, tens of thousands of workers are seriously injured on the job. While some of the injuries are minor, others are more severe and long-lasting. Thankfully, many of these incidents can be prevented. So if you're looking to create a safe environment in your workplace, follow these tips.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Encourage Injury Reporting
  • Unfortunately, just because an injury occurs in the workplace doesn't necessarily mean that it's reported. When injuries go unreported, employers and safety officials aren't able to make the necessary changes to prevent future instances of the similar incident. This is why workers should be encouraged to report injuries and safety hazards.
Maintain Machines and Equipment
  • If your business uses machines and/or heavy equipment, maintain them according to the manufacturer's specifications and federal/state safety laws. For instance, lockout tags should be used when a worker performs maintenance on machines or heavy equipment. The purpose of lockout tags is to prevent the machine from operating while the worker is working on it.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide their workers with the appropriate personal protection equipment. This requirement varies depending on the industry and nature of the worker's job. For example, a construction worker may need steel-toed boots, gloves, and a hard hat, while a window-cleaning specialist may need a fall protection system. Keep in mind that the employer is responsible for providing workers with PPE, not the worker.
Identify Common Injuries
  • Not all workplaces are susceptible to the same types of injuries. For example, construction workers probably are more prone to slip and falls, while electricians are more prone to electrocution. This is why employers should take the time to identify the most common types of injuries in their respective workplace. Only then can employers make the necessary changes to prevent such injuries from occurring.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Slip, Trips, and Falls

It’s probably happened to most of us. That momentary lapse of attention, thinking about a personal problem or distracted by a conversation, that ends in a slip, trip or fall. A stumble down a stairway. A trip over an uneven surface. Slipping on the ice. A slip, trip or fall can result in an injury ranging from a bruised shin to a life-threatening head injury. Thoughts and distractions are among a series of conditions and situations that set the stage for slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor slips, trips, and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents, which account for:

  • 15% of all accidental deaths per year, the second-leading cause behind motor vehicles
  • About 25% of all reported injury claims per fiscal year
  • More than 95 million lost work days per year — about 65% of all work days lost

In general, slips, trips and falls occur due to a loss of traction between the shoe and the walking surface or an inadvertent contact with a fixed or moveable object which may lead to a fall. There are a variety of situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls:

  • Wet or greasy floors
  • Dry floors with wood dust or powder
  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Polished or freshly waxed floors
  • Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
  • Transition from one-floor type to another
  • Damaged or irregular steps; no handrails
  • Clutter
  • Electrical cords or cables
  • Open desk or file cabinet drawers
  • Weather hazards — rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost

Wednesday, January 2

Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are the highest frequency injuries in EnPro Industries, and many other companies as well. Most strains and sprains are caused by repetitive motion that is not ergonomically safe. Strains and sprains are two different injuries, and it’s important to know the difference because treatment and recovery time can be significantly different. According to strains and sprains are very much the same in symptoms but a “sprain is the over stretching or tearing of ligaments, while a strain is the tearing of muscles and tendons.” The most commonly affected areas of the body are the back, thumb, wrist, knee and ankle. It’s important to prevent the general causes of sprains and strains:

  • lifting heavy objects
  • holding bad posture positions for too long
  • overexertion
  • repetitive movements
  • sitting or standing too long
  • slips/trips/falls

Anyone can experience a sprain or strain at any time, but these are the most common reasons that put you at risk:

  • Being out of shape. Lack of proper conditioning leaves your muscles and joints weak and unable to fully support your movements.
  • Using improper equipment. Equipment that is worn out or ill-fitting will increase your risk for a sprain or strain. It’s important you keep your shoes and any necessary gear maintained.
  • Not warming up. Properly warm up and cool down after exercise or physical work. Warming up and gently stretching the muscles will increase your range of motion. A cool down stretch helps strengthen your muscles and better joint support.
  • Being tired. When you’re tired, you don’t carry your body properly. Being tired means you’re less likely to practice good form.
  • Your environment. Wet, slippery, or icy surfaces are treacherous for walking. These aren’t risk factors you can control but being aware of when they’re around will help you avoid injury.

Thursday, January 3

Cuts and Lacerations

Every year, roughly 30 percent of all workplace injuries involve cuts or lacerations, from scratches and abrasions to needle sticks, puncture wounds and amputations

The following as typical hazards and possible causes of cuts and lacerations in the workplace:

  • Improper training
  • Lack of established safety procedures
  • Employees rushing or taking shortcuts
  • Failure to wear proper hand protection
  • Missing or improperly adjusted guarding equipment

To help minimize cuts and lacerations, employers should establish work procedures to identify and control the hazards. If using a knife or blade during work tasks, employees should:

  • Wear proper personal protective equipment, including eye protection, gloves, and long sleeves.
  • Use the proper tool for the job at hand.
  • Keep the work area clear.
  • Use a sharp blade; a dull blade means a worker has to exert more force when cutting, increasing the risk of an injury.
  • Replace dull blades when necessary.
  • Never leave an exposed blade unattended; use self-retracting cutting blades.

Friday, January 4

Free Speech Friday: New Year’s Safety Resolution

While many injuries are minor, involving nothing more than small cuts and bruises, others are more severe. Regardless, employees should prepare for the new year by making safety resolutions, to improve safety in their workplace. How are you going to resolve to make the workplace safer, and what will you do to ensure your resolution sticks?

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , osha compliance ,

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