8 Most Frequent But Preventable Work Injuries

Everyone is at some risk of being injured on the job. Whether you work in a comfortable office or deep inside a mine, accidents can happen.

Most of these mishaps are actually preventable. Staying alert and following safety rules is the best defense against serious injury.

The Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) keeps yearly statistics on reported incidents. Captured below are the eight most frequent but preventable work injuries.


1.  Overexertion Injuries

Strains and sprains from overexertion have topped the list over the past 10 years. When you’re overtired or exceed your body’s ability to perform a physical task (e.g. lifting, turning, pushing heavy objects), you’re more prone to injuring yourself.


Know your body’s limits. Getting regular exercise and stretching your joints before demanding activity helps.


2. Slipping, Tripping and Falling

Do you always watch where you’re going? Probably not during a hectic day at work. That’s why common accidents involving slipping, tripping and falling rank second. Usually they result from wet or slick floors, or debris that wasn’t cleaned up. Reaction injuries are also included in this category. That’s where the worker hurts themselves while trying to stop the fall.


Always keep your eyes peeled for compromised safety. Clean up spills and remove debris right away. Pick up papers dropped on the floor or report icy outdoor walkways to prevent accidents.


3. Elevated Falls

Special risks lurk wherever heights loom. People can lose their footing and tumble off roofs or ladders. Injuries from these accidents can be serious: fractures, lacerations, even death.


Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) regulations require the use of personal protection gear, guardrails, tethers and safety training.


4. Falling Objects

There’s a reason construction and warehouse workers wear hardhats and steel-toed boots.

Objects plunging from shelving or dropped from above cause severe injuries. Head trauma is a big concern.


Never enter such a work zone without proper equipment. Even sprinting back to retrieve a forgotten tool on a jobsite exposes you to immediate hazard.


5 & 6. Collisions

Haste makes waste. It also causes otherwise cautious people to do dumb things. Like walk into walls, windows, chairs and other stationary items. This stuff happens all the time. The resulting injuries typically affect the head, neck, knee and foot.


Keep walkways clear, watch where you’re going and slow down.


Motor vehicle accidents are the other most common collisions that cause serious injuries. The Transportation and Construction sectors account for the bulk of these. Ensure you have the proper level of driver training and take specialized courses to upgrade your skills. Maintaining the vehicle properly is a mandatory safety step too.


7. Machine Entanglement

Where machinery and heavy equipment are used, there can be harm when clothing or body parts get entangled. Acute trauma, amputation and death have been reported.


Take precautions by wearing job-appropriate clothing. Remove jewelry and secure long hair. Double check that equipment safety guards are kept in place.


8. Ergonomic Injuries

Everyday office tasks can pose hazards too. Continued exposure to typing, computer and mouse use can strain muscles and tendons. Repetitive strain injuries are not unusual. Meanwhile sitting in a chair all day may lead to back pain and excess weight gain.


Your employer should provide adequate ergonomic equipment (chairs, workstations, wrist supports). To reduce eye strain and headaches, follow the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes in front of a computer screen, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.


If You Do Get Injured

You needn’t work in one of Canada’s most dangerous occupations to be at risk of injury. But you have a legal right to refuse unsafe work no matter where you’re employed.


If you get injured you may be eligible to file a claim – and receive financial compensation or workplace supports – by contacting your provincial Worker’s Compensation office. Better though to play it safe in the first place.

Article found on Monster

Written by: Mark Swartz

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