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Injuries in the workplace are, unfortunately, a relatively common occurrence. In fact, back in 2016, statistics showed that nearly 150 UK-based workers were killed that year alone, with 621,000 non-fatal injuries also reported to have taken place. That is a substantial number, equating to approximately 4.5 million work days being lost across the country.
That’s not to say all jobs are incredibly dangerous though; there is obviously a much bigger likelihood for a chef to cut or burn themselves than an office worker, for instance.
Each job comes with its own individual hazards and risks, and it is as much the employer’s responsibility to ensure proper health and safety procedures are followed as it is the employee’s.
With this in mind, you may be wondering, what are some of the key workplace injuries to watch out for? And what can you do to guard against them?
Slips, trips, and falls
Slips, trips and falls can happen at anytime, anywhere – and that includes the workplace. Whether you work in a shop, factory, or office, you are bound to encounter slippery surfaces at some point so the odd trip or slip is, unfortunately, inevitable.
Working from height can be particularly hazardous when it comes to suffering these injuries. For builders and tradesmen who rely on ladders, scaffolding and other platforms in their work, falling from height can be especially dangerous and potentially even fatal. It will therefore probably come as no surprise that trades like these often require workers to complete vigorous health and safety training.
Workplaces often have several pieces of equipment that can leave its workers nursing painful cuts. From paper cuts by the printer to accidents with a power saw, it’s easy to cut yourself by accident while at work, regardless of the industry you work in.
Often, the reason behind these injuries comes as a result of poor training, a lack of concentration or a failure to use adequate protection. Employers should therefore put procedures in place to limit the likelihood of these injuries happening.
Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is fast becoming one of the most common injuries to experience while at work. Defined as an injury caused due to repetitive use, vibrations, compression or long periods in a fixed position, you may be forgiven for thinking that RSI is an injury which only replaces the wrists. While it may be largely associated with typing on a keyboard, RSI can actually affect any joint on the body.
One of the best ways to avoid RSI comes through simply taking breaks on a regular basis. Ergonomic equipment like office chairs, keyboards and computer mice can also be bought to alleviate the pain.
Depending on where you work, crashes and collisions are another common injury reported in the workplace. Looking the wrong way and colliding with a car, lorry or forklift can have seriously nasty consequences, requiring substantial periods of time off work.
Therefore, employers should do all they can to ensure proper safety precautions are followed. They should make sure all workers wear seat belts when driving and never drive after a boozy pub dinner.
Sitting down all day can cause you to gain weight. This is because your body isn’t releasing the energy it normally would when you’re moving about – the energy your body uses to break down the fats and sugars you eat.
The weight you gain from sitting down all day can then, in turn, lead to a whole host of other health-related issues.
From metabolic syndrome and myocardial infarction, to asthma and plantar fasciitis, long periods of inactivity while working could seriously affect your physical health, so get up and moving as regularly as possible. Otherwise, you could require surgery or a specialist diagnostic procedure to identify any potential issues at hand. For those with restricted mobilities, you can also use special chairs.
Loud noise exposure
With the rise of noise-cancelling headphones, you may think that industrial deafness is now a thing of the past, but you would be wrong.
Many workers across the UK are still routinely exposed to loud noises while at work, leading to gradual deafness and major compensation payouts down the line. As a result of this, many employers should look to avoid exposure to loud noise as much as possible, implementing effective safety methods such as ear protection.
While most UK workers don’t work with hazardous chemicals, those who do may be at a greater risk of suffering from a skin or eye-based reaction. Protective equipment like safety goggles and biohazard suits should be worn to ensure as great a protection as possible.
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