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John Demas
John Demas
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Injuries at work

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Each year, nearly 6,000 employees die from workplace injuries, while some 50,000 more die from illnesses caused by exposure to workplace hazards, according to The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Additionally, more than 6 million workers suffer non-fatal workplace illnesses and injuries, which can cost businesses billions of dollars yearly.

Follow the steps outlined below to stay safe at work.

Preventing Work Related Accidents

Employees should properly use safety equipment at all times – based on industry standards – such as, but not limited to protective head gear, back brace, eye gear and more.

Be sure to devote your full attention to your job task, especially when physical lifting is involved. Many accidents could have been prevented had the employee been paying attention.

Back Injury Prevention

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Back injuries can be avoided by employing simple rules when lifting heavy objects. Never lift or move more than 20lbs by yourself. If lifting something from the floor, bend at the knees and use both hands which will help distribute the weight to your knees rather than straining your back.

Eye Injury Prevention

First and foremost is to wear protective eye equipment in industrial settings. Certain chemicals can cause damage to the eyes. In these instances, goggles should be worn.

The top causes of eye injuries include welding accidents, tools or machinery entering the eye, and bonding agents splashing onto the face.

Head Injury Prevention

Most often, head injuries are the result of a blow to the head, other head injuries are caused by falling, hitting the head or tripping. However, a proper hard hat can help prevent these injuries.

Hearing Injury Prevention

Wear hearing protective equipment such as ear muffs or plugs are essential. And have your hearing tested regularly.

Fall Injury Prevention

‘Falls’ are a fairly common workplace injury. Employees should be trained on the proper use of equipment. And equipment should be checked before each use.

Any repairs to climbing equipment, stairways, or light fixtures should be reported and fixed immediately.

Recognizing Work Related Injuries

Pain is your body’s immediate response to injury. If at any time you feel sudden pain, immediately discontinue work and notify your supervisor.

Certain jobs may lead to specific types of strain or injury as a result of repetitive motions. For instance, constant lifting can lead to a pulled muscle and/or back injury, so a back brace, as mentioned above, would be a good preventative measure.

Company Perspective on Injury Prevention

Employers should implement a safety prevention program as a requirement for new and existing employees – that follows laws required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Necessary safety equipment and first aid kits should be readily accessible. A good rule of thumb is one safety kit per every 30 employees.

Create safe work environments by identifying and fixing workplace hazards such as unstable surfaces and malfunctioning vehicles.

Most types of work carry some sort of danger. The best prevention is to be aware of the risks involved in your occupation and to stay alert in order to remain safe daily.

National Public Health Week is April 4-10th 2011. The American Public Health Association (APHA) needs your help to educate Americans that "Safety is No Accident" – at home, work or play.