In South Africa, thousands of workers are injured on the job every year ( Preventing Workplace Injuries ). Some of these injuries are life-threatening and serious, while others are not as severe and require little attention. However, what is an accident, Merriam-Webster’s defines an accident as “an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance. Many workers are injured and some even lost their lives on the job that they cannot return to work and need ongoing medical care. As a manager or an employer, it is your responsibility to help protect your employees from accidents that threaten their well being and work. So reducing the occurrence of injuries is the important objective of safety and health professionals all over the country. However, it is important to note though manager and employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment it is also the responsibility of the workers to take an active role in maintaining safety. So managers or employers must make it a mandate that employees are following these best practices:
1 Prevent Slips, Trips And Falls
Slip, trips and falls account for a trip, quarter of all personal injuries in the workplace and one of the top causes of worker’s compensation claims. The types of injuries incurred, by trips fall and slips include back and head injuries, broken limbs, pulled muscles etc.
Below are some of the most common reasons for falls in the workplace:
- Slips— oily or wet surfaces, weather hazards, loose rugs, occasional spills, mats and flooring that lacks the appropriate degree of traction.
- Trips— poor lighting, wrinkled carpeting, uncovered cables, clutter, Obstructed view uneven walking surfaces and bottom drawers not being closed.
Proper workplace keeping is one way to reduce injuries from falls. So keeping your workplace clean, tidy and clutter free is very important in preventing these kinds of injuries. It is also essential to make sure that these tools are inspected and maintained regularly. Make sure you use anti-slip coatings on floors or wearing anti-slip footwear also helps to reduce falls. Beyond that workers should be consistently reminded to be cautious of their surroundings and where they are going. They must be encouraged to report areas where there are clutters, obstructions or damaged areas.
2 Being Caught In Or Struck By Moving Machinery
Machinery that is not properly guarded is a potentially horrible safety hazard. When body parts are struck or get caught up in unsafely guarded machinery or exposed parts or flying objects from machinery without guards, may result in a disastrous. The gruesome list of machinery-related injuries comprises of severed fingers, blindness, crushed hands, arms and worse
Most common mechanical hazards occur in these three places:
- The Point of Operation— Where work is performed on the material for instances cutting, boring, shaping or forming of stock.
- Power Transmission Apparatus— Machinery of the mechanical system transmitting energy to the part of the appliance performing the work for instance couplings, cams, spindles, chains, belts, connecting rods, flywheels, pulleys,, cranks and gears.
- Other Moving Parts— All parts of the machine that move while the machine is working this consist of rotating, reciprocating, feed mechanisms, transverse moving parts and auxiliary parts of the machine.
The important rule in preventing mechanical hazards is to always remember that any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be always be safeguarded. In addition, existing hazards must be eliminated; controlled and proper operator training and protective clothing must be provided.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
Educate employees about ergonomics.
One of the most dangerous causes of workplace injuries is recurring stress caused by regular activities such as mousing, typing or looking at a computer screen for hours on end. Provide your workers with ergonomic tools such as computer mousse, ergonomic keyboards, supportive chairs as well as proper lighting.
Keep up-to-date on new hazards and educate employees about how to avoid them.
Technology has become the new safety hazards in workplaces. Just as the computers led to a rise in recurring stress injuries. Nowadays workers walk around the workplaces looking at their Smartphones forgetting about the dangers they will face. This puts employees at risk of tripping, falling or colliding with others or with objects.
Create a culture of safety.
Show employees that you prioritize safety first and encourage them to take safety responsibilities seriously. For instance, if workers at your company are always in a rush, it is easy for accidents or injuries to occur. Always remind workers to follow appropriate procedures even if it means working a little slower — and penalize those that do not want to conform to the workplace regulations. In addition consider offering incentives such as prizes, money or rewards for employees or departments that go certain months or days without a workplace accident or injuries.
Despite your best intentions, workplace accidents and injuries always happen unexpectedly. That is why it is important to:
- Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on the premises and make sure workers know where the kit is and how to use it. Simple injuries such as puncture, cuts, wounds can simply lead to infection if not treated the right away.
- Keep an accident report log. No matter how irrelevant, insignificant workplace accident and injuries seem to be, recording information about the time, cause, date, and treatment of the accident will help managers or employers in future in case there is ever employees ’ compensation claim or question. Make sure workers know where the accident log is kept and what information is required, needed to record, so you can get the data down no matter whose present when an accident happens.
- Have adequate insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about your company’s insurance coverage, including workers compensation insurance, and whether it is adequate for your needs. A good insurance agent can also help you identify and mitigate risks in your business.