3 Ways to Reduce Workplace Accidents
Nearly 5,000 U.S. workers died as a result of workplace accidents in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By any measure, that number is far too high. Our business, commercial construction, is traditionally one of the most dangerous, accounting for 21% of worker deaths that year.
In any given year, there are 690,000 injuries that cost up to $156 billion in time lost, workers compensation insurance, and even lawsuits. These losses can greatly affect small business owners as well as larger outfits.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has narrowed workplace accidents in construction down to a “Fatal Four” – these are the types of accidents responsible for more than half of construction deaths in 2015:
- Struck by object
- Caught in-between
OSHA estimated that if we eliminated or reduced these, we could save over 600 American lives per year. By training employees to prevent accidents in the workplace and spot potential risks, safety measures will go a long way toward reaching that goal.
We’ll show you some of the ways we can do that through safety training programs. We wanted to take each of the “Fatal Four” and address them specifically. Since many precautions apply to both “struck by object” and “caught in-between,” we combined them into one section, crush injuries.
Falls are less frequent in manufacturing facilities than in construction, but still plentiful. More importantly, these falls are still preventable. In addition to using personal protection equipment (PPE) such as fall prevention equipment, here are a few tips to keep them from happening:
- Keep walkways clear. Protruding objects cause just as many injuries as falls from a ladder. Simply picking up after yourself will go a long way to preventing workplace accidents.
- Clean surfaces regularly. You might think this is obvious, but so many accidents come from lack of cleanliness. Make sure proper drainage is in place or you have mats laid accordingly. A clean work environment is a safe work environment.
- Protect elevated walkways and open surfaces. Section 1910.23 stipulates the requirements for railways and such, designating guardrails around 4 feet high (42 inches) as the primary preventer of falls.
- Proper stairway placement and size. Not only do stairs need to be placed properly—in open pits, around machines, going up or down floors—but they need to have the correct measurements. For example, standard requirements are the ability to handle five times their normal anticipated load, never less than 1,000 pounds and a width of 22 inches.
Electrocutions account for a shocking amount of injuries each year (no pun intended). It can be categorized into four different types of injuries: electrocution (shock that results in your heart stopping), electric shock, burns, and then falls (from the force of a shock). Some of our tips to reduce the risk of electrocutions are as follows:
- Separate equipment from energy sources
- Test circuits and conductors every time before you touch them
- Make sure you have the right tools for each job
- Distinguish all types of hazards before each job
- Ground yourself before working on electrical equipment
Crush and struck by object injuries come from three main sources: machines with moving parts (punch presses, brake presses, power shear equipment), collapsing and falls of equipment, and contact by moving equipment (like materials being loaded, etc).
Unfortunately, the majority of these types of injuries come from lack of proper training and recognizing high-risk situations. This is behind the majority of all types of workplace accidents and injuries.
These do involve complicated training processes, which are offered by OSHA. These protocols are designed to teach employees how to secure loads being lifted, setting safety perimeters, and other precautionary measures designed to reduce workplace injuries.
WORK WITH PROFESSIONAL SAFETY EXPERTS
We believe that many accidents are preventable. Our emphasis on personal safety equipment has helped us maintain a stellar record.
Safety is one of Storee’s areas of expertise. We have more than five decades of experience working in industrial and commercial construction and have developed a passion for keeping workers safe. However, changes don’t happen without a plan of action. Look into our facility safety programs to prevent accidents from ever happening.