Work Injuries: What to Know About Creating a Safe Work Environment

Workplace injuries are more common than many people think, especially when you include minor injuries that workers may overlook because it doesn’t seem too serious. However, all workplace injuries should be taken seriously if they impact your ability to perform your job, even if it doesn’t result in having to miss work, or worse, death.

It’s actually pretty easy to reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries— both major and minor. Here’s what employers and employees should know about creating a safe work environment.

What Are the Most Common Workplace Injuries?

In order to reduce the risk of workplace injuries, you must first know which injuries are the most common for your particular industry. Generally speaking, here are five of the most common work injuries.

#1: Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls can happen at just about any workplace, no matter which industry you’re working in. Spills and wet floors not properly marked can cause an employee to harm themselves, and so can clutter.

#2: Overextension

Overextension can also happen in just about any workplace, and can cause long-term effects. Even something as simple as repetitive work can cause overextension and/or muscle strains.

#3: Struck by Equipment, Materials, and other Objects

This type of injury is more common in the construction industry because there’s a lot of dangerous equipment on construction sites, and there’s also the risk of being struck by falling objects. However, this injury can occur in corporate workplaces if someone hits a sharp corner of a desk or counter.

#4: Work Vehicle Crashes

Vehicle-related work injuries are most common in industries that operate cars, trucks, and other machinery as a part of their job. A prime example would be truck drivers involved in a collision, but this also includes forklift accidents in warehouses.

#5: Exposure to Toxic Substances

Exposure to toxic substances is probably most often associated with those who work to remove asbestos and other chemicals, but toxic substances can be present in any workplace. An example would be those who work with cleaning supplies, such as bleach.

Ways to Create a Safer Work Environment

A safe workplace is also a happy workplace, as employees should not have to fear for their safety every day at work. Of course, some work environments are naturally more dangerous than others, but when a safe work environment has been created, it can help eliminate some of these fears.

Keep the Workplace Clean

The best way to prevent slips, trips, and falls (not from a height) is to keep the workplace as clean and as clutter-free as possible. Spills should be cleaned immediately, and materials should not be scattered across the floor.

Use Safe Lifting Techniques

To prevent strains and overextension, employees must use proper lifting techniques. It is the responsibility of the employer/supervisor/trainer to ensure that all employees know the proper way to lift and carry heavy items.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is anything that can protect employees from any possible harm that naturally occurs with a job. Examples include hard hats, seatbelts, and respiratory protection. The correct use of PPE should also be covered in employee training.

Most Dangerous Work Industries

According to, the trade and transportation industries had the most fatal work-related injuries, with agriculture, construction, and manufacturing coming in second. The nature of these jobs are typically more hazardous than other industries, so it’s especially important for managers in these industries to help create the safest possible work environment.

Still, this doesn’t mean that other industries don’t have to properly train their employees on safety or become lax with safety regulations. It only takes one mistake to cause a serious, and even fatal, work injury.

Once a company identifies which work injuries are most likely to happen in their particular workplace, they can start taking steps to reduce their employees’ risk of injury. The workplace should be a neat and clean space, and all equipment should be inspected regularly to ensure safe usage. Employees should also be properly trained on how to perform their job(s) as safely as possible, and they should be educated on the correct way to wear and use their PPE.

Ensuring a safe working environment is a team effort, requiring the cooperation of all employees and all management. It may even help to have a team of compassionate supervisors whose job is to make sure that all workers are performing their tasks safely.

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