Have you ever sustained an injury at work? You’re not alone!
Millions of worldwide workers in different industries suffer work-related injuries every year. The most serious among these workplace accidents often happen in the manufacturing and machining industry. It can be difficult to avoid certain accidents where workers handle heavy machinery or dangerous substances. However, most workplace injuries can easily be prevented by simply establishing quality control standards. This is also why ISO certifications have become more important in recent years. An ISO-certified business complies with standardized quality management guidelines, helping it protect its workers.
Learn about some common workplace injuries and ways to prevent them below.
Common Workplace Injuries
The frequency and intensity of workplace accidents vary as per the industry. While the most critical injuries happen in the manufacturing industry, less intense business functions can still be harmful to workers. Here are the top five most common types of workplace accidents and injuries in the US.
1. Slips, Trips, and Falls
A significant percentage of all reported workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips, and falls. These injuries are almost always non-fatal but they can cause long-lasting problems. Workers commonly trip, slip, and fall due to slippery floors or uneven surfaces. Reduced visibility in poorly-lit rooms can also cause workers to trip. Many such injuries have also occurred because of clutter on the floor and exposed or tangled cables in the way. Falls and slips can cause head injuries, muscle strains, and even bone fracturing in some cases.
2. Exposure to Dangerous Elements
Exposure to dangerous elements can cause serious injuries. The accidents that cause such injuries most commonly happen in the manufacturing and biochemical industries. Workers can be exposed to harmful substances like toxic chemical fumes and radiation. Such exposure can lead to health issues that can persist for a long time. In the manufacturing industry, glass and metal workers often handle scorching hot objects. This also commonly leads to physical injuries like burns and welts.
3. Collisions and Crashes
Impact injuries are fairly common in large-scale industries that have a large number of workers and machinery involved in daily functions. Workers can collide with oncoming vehicles in their workplaces. Collision with forklifts in commercial warehouses is a common example of such accidents. Workers also sustain injuries because of trailers or lorries crashing into one another. Employees in cubicle jobs can also sometimes collide with smaller objects like office furniture.
4. Strain and Stress Injuries
Not all serious workplace injuries take place in intense environments. Strain and stress-related injuries are common among office workers in the US as well. Employees who spend hours sitting at a desk and doing repetitive muscle movements every day can suffer from strains. Digital eyesight strains are also common among cubicle workers due to prolonged exposure to bright screens. Muscle strains can cause chronic and debilitating pain, rendering many workers unable to work every year. This type of musculoskeletal injury is also common among workers who regularly lift and carry heavy objects.
5. Cuts and Lacerations
Workers in all types of industries often use sharp objects that can cause cuts and lacerations if used improperly. Examples of this include letter openers, staplers, box cutters, and even scissors. Office supplies or stationery objects that have blades in them can become jagged after repetitive usage. This can also cause injuries in workers who handle them roughly.
Ways to Prevent Workplace Injuries
Now that you know how workplace injuries can happen, let’s explore ways to prevent them.
1. Train Staff and Employees Properly
The best way to prevent your employees and workplace staff from sustaining occupational injuries is to train them properly. Workers in manufacturing and machining industries should have a good grasp of operational hazards and guidelines. Training them to properly handle heavy equipment and operate machinery can better enable them to protect themselves. Even workers in office spaces should have the knowledge of properly handling stationery and office supplies.
2. Invest in Protective Equipment/Gear
Businesses that require workers to handle harmful or dangerous elements should provide protective gear to them. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is legally mandatory in certain industries like healthcare and food handling. Investing in high-quality and effective protective clothing, tools, and accessories can help workers avoid occupational hazards. Eye protection goggles and gloves are essential for workers who handle toxic chemicals or conduct welding processes.
3. Update the Quality Management System
Many businesses now have quality management systems in place. These systems help them ensure that quality control standards are established and being enforced daily. You can make your business compliant with the quality control guidelines established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
ISO certifications determine if a business can properly enforce quality standards. There are certain types of ISO certifications for different industries. For example, the ISO 45001 certification specifically focuses on implementing and evaluating guidelines that improve working conditions for all employees. Meanwhile, the API Q1 certification focuses on employee safety in the petroleum and gas industry specifically.
You can update your quality management system and then have a trial run to see if your business can pass ISO standards. If you are unsure how to do this, try reaching out to an ISO consulting firm for guidance.
Our Consultants Can Help You Get Your ISO Certification
Are you wondering how to go about getting your ISO certification? Let BCS help you figure it out!
Our ISO consulting firm is run by a team of dedicated and highly experienced ISO consultants. With years of experience under our belt, we can now provide curated consultancy services to businesses across the US. We serve various industries like manufacturing, machining, transportation, and medical. You can get in touch with us if you would like to get any of the following ISO certifications:
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