Every workplace has its risks. Nonetheless, some are more dangerous than others and, when it comes to serious injuries, there are a few that stand out as regular offenders. Here they are, ranked by frequency, along with some tips on how to avoid them. The most common types of work-related injuries are from lifting heavy equipment, defective machinery, fire, or explosion.
1. Back strain
By far the most common of work-related injuries, anyone who spends 8 hours sitting at a desk will one day strain their muscles. But we are talking about more physically demanding jobs, like warehouse organizing or delivery for heavy objects. Your back and shoulders are under the most stress, but knees and other joints can also be affected. To reduce risks, wear a back-support belt and do not hesitate to put any vulnerable joint in a brace. It is also vital to know if you have a permit to work in an environment that could cause strain or injury.
2. Machine malfunction
Defective machinery causes the most severe non-chemical damage to workers. From objects dropping suddenly from a crane to being caught in between parts of a machine, these injuries are severe, sometimes fatal, and require a long stay at home. For these types of work-related injuries, you should receive compensation and legal counsel. Prevention is the best treatment, however, so always pay attention to your surroundings, wear protective gear and be extra careful when operating machinery or working around it.
Fire counts as a chemical injury for two main reasons. Firstly, the fire needs fuel to start, and often it starts from a chemical substance that is mishandled. That is not always the case, as the second most common cause of fire is electrical equipment. Secondly, more dangerous than fire is smoke, hot, and containing derivates of everything the fire has touched, from plastic to paint and drywall. Fire is also closely connected to the next cause of injury, so do your best to not be in a fire by checking that flammable substances are properly stored and inspecting the electrical outlets you use.
Explosions are ranked lower simply because they are less common and are usually preceded by a fire that evacuates the building before people can be injured. However, that is not to say that there are no work-related injuries because of explosions. And most of them are complex injuries, combining impact with fire damage and with dangerous chemicals, with long recovery times. So do your best to avoid creating an explosion by keeping to the security measures in place and never slack off, not even for a second.
5. Slips and falls
Much less damaging than the above-mentioned causes of injury, slips and falls can occasionally have unpredicted consequences. They generally leave behind scrapes, bruises, a good fright, and a laugh, but sometimes a bad landing can cause broken bones or concussions. And while a second of inattention will not cause a catastrophe, it is best you avoid it anyway. Watch where you are walking and be careful where you step, so you do not accidentally step on a patch of wet floor. Pay attention to your surroundings and you should be fine!
6. Fights and violence
We all wish we lived in a perfect world, without violence and danger, but that is simply not true. Any group of people will argue sooner or later, and sometimes, arguments escalate. More common between men than women, fights do break out. And while a punch or a scratch, or some hair pulled, will not hurt anyone for long, some can be truly dangerous. Try your best to de-escalate situations and to avoid getting yourself into a fight.
So here are, briefly explained the most common six causes of work-related injuries, ranked by how common and how dangerous they are, along with some prevention tips.