Work Life & Safety June 4, 2019

Workplace Safety: How to Avoid Common Causes of Injury

Clarissa S., Editor

Most people spend the majority of their time at work, and there are many potential hazards in every workplace – even in workplaces where minimal physical activity is required. However, most accidents are preventable. Everyone needs to stay vigilant in the workplace and take the necessary steps to avoid injury. Here are some guidelines for staying safe in the workplace. 

The Most Common Causes of Workplace Injury

Slips, trips and falls cause the most workplace fatalities, other than motor vehicle accidents. There are many potential workplace hazards that can cause slips, trips and falls. The following are some of the most common:

  • Ice or wet spots on the floor
  • Polished floors, or uneven or unstable walking surfaces
  • Clutter, damaged ladder steps, electrical cords or open drawers
  • Unsafely positioned ladders

If you aren’t aware of your surroundings and actively trying to protect yourself at work, you might encounter situations in which you could injure yourself. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce the likelihood of slipping, tripping or falling in the workplace.

Safety Precautions to Take

Here are some easy ways to ensure your safety at work:

  • Ask your employer to remove or move any objects that create unnecessary hazards (extension cords or hoses left out where people can trip on them, clutter on stairs or steps, exposed electrical wires).
  • Remind your employer to remove “Wet Floor” signs once the hazard is cleared, as the signs might become familiar to employees and might be ignored in the future.
  • Encourage safe work practices, such as clearing clutter from the shared work area and closing drawers after use.
  • Stay alert. Most investigators report inattention as being a major contributing factor to workplace incidents. Take small breaks throughout the day to make sure you can concentrate when necessary.
  • Consult OSHA’s regulations and requirements if your work demands the use of ladders, scaffolds or loading docks.
  • If you ever feel like your workplace is not following OSHA requirements, let your employer know before an incident occurs.

Almost half of all fall-related deaths happen on steps and stairways. Be on the alert for any potential hazards and use these tips:

  • Always use the handrail.
  • Make sure all stairways and steps are cleared of any obstacles that could cause an accident.
  • Be cautious of single stairs, as they can easily cause trips and falls.
  • Don’t carry heavy loads while walking up or down stairs.
  • Be careful when going up or down stairs while wearing high heels, sandals, slippers, etc.
  • Be careful when walking up or down stairs if you are tired, distracted, ill or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month. During this observance, Americans are encouraged to learn more about how to stay safe in every facet of their lives. Use National Safety Month as a reminder to brush up on safety practices and necessary precautions to take.

To learn more, refer to these helpful resources:

For more information on various Work Life & Safety products available to purchase for your community, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention.

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