Why do people get hurt at work?

Injuries at the workplace are no accident. By understanding why people get hurt at work; incidences (injuries & fatalities) can be prevented. We all need to take responsibility. Don’t let one or more of the following causes of workplace incidents, bring you, your team or your co-workers down.

1                     Tired

Lack of sleep has led to many injuries & fatalities. Find ways to relax before bed. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Stay rested & well nourished & you will feel positive, energized & alert: http://www.go-getters.ca/blog/2012/1/24/sleep-uncovered-how-much-is-enough-stages-more.html.

2                     In a Hurry

Rushing to get a job done can be fatal. Plan ahead. Give yourself extra time. Get help if you need it.

Slow down. Know where you are placing your feet & check for grip before distributing your weight (falls are one of the most common workplace incidents). 

3                     Pressure/Stress

This will affect your health & your performance. Don’t take things personal. Talk to someone & find ways to lighten your load. Don’t bring stress from work into your home or visa versa. Exercise. Learn ways to handle stress (deep breathing for example).

4                     Time

We need to take the time to be safe, every where, all the time. Always start by checking for hazards in your enviroment. Take the time to check your equipment & to put on required personal protective equipment. Don’t rush or take short-cuts. Take the time to be safe.

5                     Complacency

There are lots of things that we can do on auto-pilot. When we do things repetitively, our minds can wonder (we lose focus on the task at hand). We have to make a concious effort to stay safe.  Focus. For example, move your eyes before you move your feet, your bike or your vehicle.

6                     Focus (lack of)

We have so many things on the go, we have lost our focus. Once again, slow down. Be aware of everyone, everything & all that needs to get done. Make a “to do” list. Prioritize. Get rid of distractions.

7                     Failure to do an Inspection

Don’t be over confident & don’t take short cuts where safety is concerned. Have the peace of mind that everything possible has been done to ensure the safety of your team. Health & safety inspections keep people safe.

8                     Horseplay

There is a time & place for everything. It is great to get along with your co-workers, but work now & have fun later. Horseplay at work can lead to injuries. Look out for each other when it comes to safety.

9                     Distraction

It is proven, distractions cause injuries & fatalies. For example, a person is 25% more likely to get in a collision when texting while driving. Eliminate distractions & stay safe.

10                 Carelessness

Since nothing happened before, nothing will happen this time. Wrong. Realize the possible consequences of being careless. Its not just yourself that could get hurt. Do things the right/safe way, everytime.

11                 Impairment (under the influence)

Judgement can be impaired, reaction time can be slowed  & drozziness may occur when under the influence of medications, stimulants (like high energy drinks), drugs &/or alcohol. 

There is no place for drugs/alcohol at work. Some workplaces are now banning high energy drinks. Find out side-effects before taking over the counter medications for colds/flus (it may not be safe to drive or operate machinery).

12                 Failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment, equipment, policies, controls & supervision

Employers must do everything they can to keep their workers safe. This might include protection of a worker's head, eyes, ears, hands & feet. Specialized equipment like reflective vests may also be required. Equipment should be in good working order with safety features. If a worker is not competent & has little or no experience, proper supervision is needed. There should be good lines of communication, where safety is concerned. 

13                 Training (lack of)

Employers must ensure workers receive proper training when it comes safe work practices & the operation of equipment & machinery. Everyone should know workplace emergency procedures. Staff need to be first aid & CPR trained. OH&S requirements must be met.

According to Work Safe Alberta, “if you see something unsafe at work, tell your boss. If you don’t feel safe, refuse to do the job. It’s your life, so share the job of protecting it”.  Good advice.

Suggestions for prevention, listed above, are just the tip of the iceburg. Invite me to give a presentation at your workplace. I have a wealth of information to share. I’ll work with your team, so that they don’t get hurt at work. We'll have fun, share a few stories & prevent injuries!