When heading into work, the last thing an employee expects to happen is that they will get into an accident or be injured on the job. While accidents at work can and do happen, they often result in not only physical harm but they can create undue stress for the workforce as a whole. Because these incidents can cause such strain on employees, it’s important to be aware of the common causes of workplace accidents to better understand why they happen – and how to hopefully stay safe.
The Challenges of Workplace Accidents
While some might assume a workplace accident only affects the injured employee, this is not the case, as the entire team of employees can be impacted. For instance, workplace injuries and accidents can result in feeling unsafe at work – especially if an employer is negligent and is known to disregard safety standards. Additionally, workplace accidents occur much more often than expected.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 800,000 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017 alone. The most common resulting injuries were broken bones, sprains, and tears from slips, trips, and falls. While preventing occupational accidents cultivates a culture of safety and awareness, this, unfortunately, isn’t always how companies prioritize their efforts and financial resources.
Employers must provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes implementing safety measures and standards while also providing adequate worker training and maintaining machinery and equipment. When this doesn’t happen, a workplace that may have once been safe can quickly turn into a breeding ground for injuries.
What Causes Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents can be detrimental to employees. One accident alone can drastically change worker morale, lead to costly medical bills, and leave the employee unsure of what their options are. Even a seemingly safe workplace environment holds serious injury risks. Some of the common causes of workplace injuries include:
IMPROPER LIFTING AND OVEREXERTION
When employers fail to train their employees on the proper methods of performing heavy-lifting tasks or do not provide access to the proper assistive equipment, employees can suffer back and neck injuries. These injuries can occur over time or in just one acute instance, often leading to torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
Long work hours and irregular shifts can contribute to worker fatigue, causing poor balance, lack of coordination, poor motor skills, and decreased cognitive functioning. In fact, tired workers can be just as dangerous as intoxicated ones. Employees who work on construction jobsites, in industrial environments, and in hazardous areas like oil fields require an incredible amount of focus and need adequate break time and time off in order to rest and recharge. When this doesn’t happen and an employer fails to allocate time for employees to rest, worker fatigue can quickly creep up due to the employer’s fault and jeopardize workplace safety.
In certain industries, employees may be required to work with hazardous and corrosive materials. Not being properly trained on the handling of these materials or not being provided with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) by an employer can result in an injury at the workplace. Exposure to hazardous materials can wreak havoc on employees and result in chemical burns, itchy eyes, difficulty swallowing, nausea, dizziness, headache, and even death.
SLIPS AND FALLS
Wet floors, icy surfaces, scattered debris, unattended cords, and uneven surfaces can all cause a job-related slip and fall to occur. A fall can lead to severe injuries, such as broken bones, head injury, spinal cord injury, and damage to soft tissue. In many instances, slips, trips, and falls are preventable. Employers should ensure that all work areas are free of scattered debris and mark off any areas that are slick, uneven, or otherwise unsafe for employees.
Houston Workplace Accident Attorneys
Despite safety standards put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other organizations, accidents and injuries in the workplace happen far too often. When an employer’s negligence results in the injury or even death of an employee, they should be held accountable. At Ramsey Law Group, we have years of experience successfully representing injured employees of varying industries. If you or someone you know suffered a workplace injury, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.