What you need to know about workplace accidents, how to prevent them from happening, and what you should do in case they happen.
By definition, an accident is something that unintentionally happens.
Naturally unforeseen occurrences cannot be avoided 100 percent.
But that doesn’t mean their possibility cannot be greatly reduced. As a matter of fact, several cases of workplace injuries are the result of not paying attention and adhering to safety precautions.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health has conducted a research and they discovered that there were 4,585 fatalities from workplace injuries in 2013. Annually, there is an estimated 50,000 casualties from workplace exposure.
The numbers above don’t even address the workers who encounter injuries. Some of these injuries can be serious enough the victims can no longer work physically. Some are left with permanent scarring from injuries that result in going to receive treatment from laser skin clinics.
Many people associated workplace accidents with high-risk industries like manufacturing and construction.
Truth be told, injuries can happen in any place of employment. Professionals in the construction industry take their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training and safety procedures seriously. If they do not and protocols are not followed, there is a higher risk of serious injury.
The OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Programs should be taken advantage of by every office and small business. These programs pinpoint specific hazards in the workplace and provide management a comprehensive evaluation along with tips for improvement that give the adequate injury prevention methods for businesses.
How to Thwart Accidents in the Workplace
Individual industries have specific safety requirements which employers need to strictly meet. Some of these safety requirements have been overlooked and because of human errors that have fallen through the cracks.
Workers and employers are in a hurry to complete deadlines and may not pay close attention to the hazards as they should. In some cases, managers and employers may not be aware of the dangers around the workplace.
Safety should always be at the forefront. Follow this list of distinct tips on how to prevent damages from happening in the work area.
- Keep workspaces clean
There are individuals who do not think of cleanliness as a deterrent to accidents, but order at the workplace has proven to diminish the chance of getting injuries.
It is impossible to efficiently maneuver in a cluttered, unclean work area and workers are more prone to hazards. Make sure your staff adhere to something as simple as organizing cords and computer cables properly is a great rollout prevention, and they don’t become a tripping hazard.
Keeping the area clean and well-maintained whether your work environment is an office cubicle or a manufacturing warehouse decreases the chance of accidents.
Atty. Marc S. Albert said in an interview, “In many cases, precautionary practices can prevent accidents.”
- Post proper signage
Signs should be posted around the workplace, reminding employees of proper safety procedures. The signs should be placed in noticeable places where those specific instructions should be practiced.
- Stay up-to-date on vehicle maintenance
Cars should be well maintained and serviced on a regular basis, especially for employers that provide staff with company vehicles to complete daily tasks.
According to Bankrate, due to unperformed vehicle maintenance, the bill for accidents top $2 billion per year.
Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com said, “If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life, and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles.”
- Report dangers and accidents
Employers should encourage their staff to bring any predictable hazard to the management’s attention even if most employees know. Constantly remind employees they need to report an actual incident.
- Provide proper training
All employees need to be properly trained for their position. This includes following safety procedures during their course of work and teaching them how to use equipment.
- Provide proper equipment
All employees need to be capable of doing their specific jobs. Equipment can differ from proper gloves, goggles, and safety harnesses. Under no circumstances should carry out functions without the appropriate equipment.
Several times, accidents happen not because of unknown safety precautions but because shortcuts have been taken when they are in a hurry or are familiar with their job.
For instance, a worker may climb a building or a crane without the use of a safety harness because they want to finish one simple task and he may find gearing up time consuming.
Not wearing the proper gear can be he difference between a minor injury and a life-threatening tragedy.
What to Do When an Accident Has Happened
The first thing to do when an accident occurs is to report it right away. Some employees choose not to report an incident if there is no serious injury, but this is a wrong way of thinking.
Every accident should strictly be reported. An injury that appears minor should not be taken lightly because it can end up being more serious in a few minutes or a few hours.
The second reason why any injury should be reported immediate is because the fact that it happened indicates a risk that should be addressed right away.
Whether or not the injured employee was seriously hurt, reporting the occurrence can give the employer information to make a change of protocol that can prevent future catastrophes from happening.
The third reason why an injury should be reported immediately regardless of it being serious or not is that there is only a short span of time to report an accident and be eligible for compensation coverage.
Depending on the state, there are varying mandates on the amount of time that can pass between the time of the accident and reporting the injury.
Workers’ Compensation coverage frequently covers injuries and all medical bills that are in connection with injuries, such as bills from skin doctors after a laser treatment, and may include reimbursement for time off work made during the recovery.
Whether the injured employee was at fault in causing the injury or not, this coverage will still apply. In many cases, if the injured employee was not following the safety guidelines posted in the vicinity, he will still be covered under workers’ compensation.
Employers are delegated to have workers’ compensation insurance to safeguard workers from risks and injuries. However, these laws prohibit employees from suing the employer in some instances. Atty. Marc S. Albert states that there may be qualifying situations which fall beyond the extent of what workmen’s compensation insurance can offer to the injured employee. In cases like these, professional help needs to be sought.
At the end of the day, prevention is the key.