What Are the Main Causes of Workplace Accidents?
The latest data shows that 2.6 million nonfatal job injuries and illnesses occurred in the U.S. in 2021. That’s 1.8% lower than the previous year. However, it’s still 2.6 million too many.
After all, research shows that most accidents are preventable. And it starts with knowing what can cause such incidents. People who know and understand the dangers are more likely to practice care and caution.
This guide discusses the top causes of workplace accidents, so read on.
Lack of or Misuse of PPE
PPE stands for personal protective equipment. Its use is to limit exposure to hazards that lead to severe workplace injuries and illnesses.
Workplace hazards include biological, chemical, electrical, mechanical, and radiological, to name a few.
The exact PPE workers must use depend on the hazards they face on the clock. However, safety glasses, gloves, respirators, muffs, and hard hats are the most common.
The problem is that some workers either don’t have access to adequate PPE or misuse it. As a result, they don’t have proper protection against illnesses and accidents at work.
Lack of Chemical Safety Training
The law mandates employers to provide employees with workplace safety training. This includes educating workers on hazardous chemicals they may encounter at work.
However, not all chemicals fall under the “hazardous” class due to their everyday uses.
One example is calcium chloride, a salt used in many products like road salt, tofu, and sports drinks. But if you read this article, you’ll learn it’s irritating and can cause superficial burns. Anyone who touches it with bare skin can sustain such injuries.
Workers who don’t undergo proper safety training are therefore at risk. After all, they are unaware of such dangers and, thus, may think it’s safe to handle a substance with exposed skin.
Fatigue, or extreme tiredness, can affect a person’s motor skills. It can also impair one’s balance, concentration, and decision-making abilities. Its effects on the brain are even comparable to driving drunk.
So, it’s no wonder fatigue can make workers more prone to injury. Experts even say that over 1 in 10 work incidents and injuries are due to extreme tiredness.
Equipment Failure or Misuse
Equipment defects or malfunctions can cause some of the most catastrophic workplace injuries. These include disfigurement, dismemberment, electrocutions, entanglement, and multiple fractures.
Equipment defects can sometimes be present in factory-fresh units. However, they’re more common in ill-maintained machinery.
Equipment misuse is also a common cause of workplace injuries. It may be unintentional, such as in the case of an untrained or insufficiently trained user.
However, incorrect equipment use can also be intentional. An example is if a disgruntled employee disregards safety protocols.
Avoid Costly and Deadly Workplace Accidents
Remember: Workplace accidents and injuries cost the U.S. over $100 billion in losses. Even worse, they claim the lives of thousands of Americans yearly. That’s enough reason to want to know what causes them in the first place.
Employers can then use that knowledge to give workers a safe work environment. However, employees must also follow protocols and the best safety tips to reduce risk.
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