Law Office of Mark Bush - Imperial Valley Articles How to Prevent Work Related Injuries

How to Prevent Work Related Injuries

By Attorney Mark Bush  Jul. 23, 2012 2:28p

Each year, more than 4.1 Americans suffer workplace injuries or occupational illness. The injury rate is 4.4. cases per 100 full-time workers. Furthermore, 165 people die from occupational disease each day and 18 more from a work-related injury.

The most common workplace injuries involve: overexertion, falls, free bodily motion accidents (bending, climbing, reaching), being struck by an object, highway accidents, being caught in equipment, repetitive motion, and assaults.

Other workplace injuries have made headlines for their horrific nature: the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling explosion that injured 17 workers, the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia, the Kleen Energy Power Plant explosion in Connecticut that injured 30 workers, and so forth.

All over the internet, traumatic stories involving work-related accidents can be found: the story of the two school bus drivers who were attacked and disabled by a 16 year old, a helicopter traffic reporter who injured her back in a helicopter crash, a man who committed suicide after a debris box fell on his leg and he did not receive the medical compensation he needed.

No workplace is completely safe, as there are too many possible ways in which a person can injure themselves. Whether you wait on tables, do secretarial work or move furniture, hazards exist and your health could be jeopardized if your company is guilty of unsafe practices.

Keep your company accountable!

But when a company enforces protocol, maintains equipment and listens to concerns brought by workers, the chance of a work-related accident diminishes. What can you personally do to keep yourself and others safe on the job?

  • Don't give into unsafe practices, simply because of a tight schedule
  • Don't try to do something you don't know how to do, simply because you are scared to admit this
  • Don't do something that is unsafe, because your boss said it would only be "just this once"
  • Don't do something that bypasses precautions or that seems excessive
  • Don't do something unsafe "for the good of the team"

Other good ways to keep yourself safe on the job is to know OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) rules. These range from the number of breaks an employee can take to proper equipment handling to methods for dealing with chemicals or flammable liquids. Use proper techniques when you lift (back injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries). Bend at the knees and do not try to move more than 20 lbs without a moving dolly.

Wear the appropriate work attire: keep long hair tied back, don't wear baggy or long articles of clothing that could get stuck in equipment and wear good, study shoes. Keep any hazardous materials safely contained, make sure your workplace has adequate ventilation, sprinklers and smoke detectors. Clean up spills and debris on the floor and keep your company accountable to safety guidelines and regulations. It is important that you follow all posted workplace safety policies and that you report hazardous conditions to management or contact OSHA.

Workplace hazards can include any of the following:

  • Slip or trip hazards
  • Spills
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Cluttered/obstructed walkways
  • Heavy items stored at not easily reached levels
  • Heavy/sharp items stored overhead
  • Accessible items that employees/clients could use as weapons
  • Employee disregard for safe work practices
  • Dangerous or high risk situations that could have resulted in injury

Take advantage of california's workers' compensation!

California has workers' compensation insurance coverage that covers an injured worker's medical expenses and lost wages. While this can eliminate the need for litigation, often a victim needs more compensation for serious injuries sustained (such as brain and spinal cord injuries) or often an injured worker is eligible to receive further compensation if an accident was caused by intentional negligence or faulty machinery.

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