When we think of hazardous jobs, we tend to think of high-peril tasks such as deep-sea fishing, window-washing skyscrapers or coal mines. The truth is that even ordinary jobs can carry some risk, and it’s in employers and employees’ best interest to take some time to evaluate the workplace and mitigate these hidden risks.
There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some of the most injurious everyday tasks may surprise you. They include:
Repetitive Motion Injuries
About two-thirds of workplace-related injuries are caused by repeated trauma or movement, mainly to upper body parts such as the shoulder, wrist, and elbow. Repetitive motion injuries can come from any activity repeated all day long, such as keyboarding (the most common repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome), answering phones, filing, data entry, and industrial tasks. It’s also expensive: repetitive motion injuries cost employers an estimated $80 billion a year.
Ensure employees are educated about how to prevent repetitive motion injuries (ergonomically correct keyboards, for example, or back support) and ensure they have adequate breaks during the day.
American workers are facing an epidemic of back problems from bending and lifting, and even sitting all day. There are exercises workers can do periodically through the day to prevent back strain, and regular breaks or tasks that don’t require bending are recommended. It’s also recommended that workers who lift are educated about the proper way to bend and lift.
Too Much Screen Time
The average worker today spends about 1,700 a year sitting in front of a computer screen, which can lead to headaches, eye strain, and health risks from inactivity. Aside from the numerous health risks that stem from sitting for so long every day, more than one-third of workers say they have to squint regularly to see the text on their computer screen. The same number also complain of regular headaches from gazing into a monitor for so long.
Cuts and Bruises
Staplers, scissors, file drawers, hole punches, and even paper (the dreaded papercut!) are a significant portion of workplace injuries. While all serious injuries should be addressed by medical personnel, offices should ensure they’re properly equipped with a fully stocked first-aid kid to handle small injuries.
Workplace injuries lead to absences, turnover and missed deadlines. Medical supply supplies providers such as 1st Aid Supplies can keep your office first-aid kid stocked and ready to tackle headaches, bumps and bruises, cuts and even backaches. A healthy, well cared for the workplace is a productive workplace.