Can you imagine having to recover from a skull fracture?
Sadly, this was the case for a young, 20-year-old carpenter. He was securing temporary supports for the roof trusses on an apartment building when suddenly he lost his balance. In a matter of seconds, the young man fell from the second story, all the way down to the concrete walkway on the first floor.
The impact of the fall caused his skull to instantly fracture, resulting in traumatic brain injuries.
Falls happen when you least expect them, and the outcomes are devastating. In some cases, it’s the employee falling while other times it’s an object falling on the employee.
Have you taken every precaution to protect your workers from different types of falls? Read on to find out about 5 of the most common worker’s comp injuries. We’ll also look at the best safety practices that can help you keep them from happening.
Types of Workers Comp Injuries
During the year 2016, there were 4,693 worker fatalities, that’s over 12 employees losing their lives at work every single day. Florida is leading the way, with the fastest growing number of falls, slips, and trips in the entire nation.
Out of the 4,693 deaths, only 991 were in the construction industry.
Considering the dangerous nature of construction job sites, 991 deaths is a relatively low number. One of the ways construction companies are able to avoid injuries is by focusing on preventing “the fatal four“. The fatal four is a term that references 4 of the most common accidents that can happen at work.
The 4 types of hazards that occur most frequently, and usually result in death, are:
- Slips, Trips, Falls
- Hit by an object
- Caught in between objects
For this article we’ll be focusing on injuries that happen as a result of slips, trips, falls, and objects hitting employees.
There are 3 different types of falls that can happen to an employee.
When an employee slips or falls it’s usually because their shoe loses traction with the ground beneath them. Slips typically occur when the ground is either wet or covered in a slick substance. For example, a freshly polished floor could serve as a major slipping hazard.
A trip describes what happens when some type of obstacle causes a worker to stumble. For example, an uneven floor surface could create a challenge when walking. Clutter and unorganized workspaces can also contribute to causing trips.
- Falling to a Lower Level
One of the worst types of injuries occurs when an employee falls a long distance. Examples of these types of falls would include incidents where employees fall from some type of height. They might fall from a rooftop, ladder or even a small stepping stool.
Preventing Employees from Falling
Now that you know the 3 main types of falling hazards, we’ll discuss a few safety practices you can implement to help prevent them.
- Safe floor space
- Proper equipment
First, make sure that the workplace is always well lit, with proper lighting in every area. Next, have a workplace policy that requires employees to promptly remove any spills or out of place objects on the floor.
Thoroughly explain the importance of a safe floor space to all of your employees. When everyone contributes to clearing walkways, the workplace becomes even safer.
Objects Falling on Employees
Now we’ll move on to injuries that happen when an object strikes an employee.
- Construction Objects Striking Employees
Small, normally safe objects can become a major threat when they fall from a far distance. Handheld radios, wrenches, hard hats, and tape measures are some of the most common objects to fall at construction job sites.
Common object to fall in construction:
- Handheld radio
- Hard hats
- Tape measures
If the objects fall from a high enough height, the impact can cause concussions, remove limbs or even result in death.
- Office Objects Striking Employees
Common office objects that can fall and cause injuries include office supplies sliding off the tops of shelves or cabinets. In some cases, a poorly balanced file cabinet can cause an entire draw to fall on top of an employee.
Common object to fall in office environments:
- Items on top of shelves
- File cabinet drawers
- Heavy desktop objects
Computer monitors also present a risk if they aren’t centered and sit at the edge of the desk. Having a heavy computer monitor fall on your foot can cause injuries with complications that last a lifetime.
Preventing Objects from Falling
Employees in office environments, don’t have as much risk or exposure to objects falling from high heights as construction workers do. However, the steps towards preventing injuries work in either work environment.
The first step you’ll need to take is to properly secure all items. For construction workers, this means having a harness for tools along with clear, safety protocol for how to store them. Securing office supplies starts with where you store each item.
Keep heavy objects on low shelves and place desktop items away from the edge of the desk. Implement strict rules about only using storage areas for their intended use. Make sure you store heavy materials in a way that you can easily retrieve them.
You should never have to reach across an obstacle to pick up a heavy item. Instead, items should be in a position where employees can safely lift the item using their knees.
Keep Your Company Safe
Knowing about different workers comp injuries helps you prevent them from happening. However, even with the best safety practices, accidents can still occur. You can protect your company by securing a policy for workers compensation.
Workers compensation is a type of business insurance that can provide wage replacement and medical benefits for employees who sustain an injury at work. Workers comp can also protect you from costly court proceedings. An employee waives their right to sue for any type of negligence the moment they accept the medical benefits.
National Workman’s Comp Solutions has over 15 years of experience helping customers find the best solutions for their businesses. We can provide a policy for any type of industry and we’ll also customize the plan to meet your specific needs.
We have agents standing by to speak with you today. Explore how you can get great coverage at a great price by contacting us today! Or you can request to have us email you an online quote within the next 24 hours.