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Preventing Injuries

Preventing Injuries  

Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this adage also holds true for workplace injuries. Ensuring that there is a proper work procedure for preventing injuries not only save money but lives as well.

Consistently among all workplaces, ergonomic hazards such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are a threat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one-third of workplace injuries are MSD related.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Before we can begin preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders, it is important to know and understand what they are. MSDs are disorders, as the name suggests, that affect blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Some ergonomic hazards that can cause this disorder are:

  • performing the same motions or tasks repeatedly
  • working in awkward positions
  • reaching overhead often
  • lifting, pulling or pushing heavy items

These types of actions can lead to:

  • Tendinitis
  • Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Muscle Strains
  • Lower Back Injuries

Eliminating the Hazards

There are many small steps that can be taken in a workplace to make it safer.

  1. Start by identifying hazards and create a work policy that can eliminate them. If materials are stored on a higher shelf, consider moving them to a more easily accessible shelf. For moving heavy objects, make sure carts, and hand trucks are available to eliminate strain. Analyze the risks that all employees face and train them on better methods.
  2. Administrative controls are the next step in preventing injuries and eliminating hazards. These are essentially management decisions that are made to ensure the wellbeing of all employees. Scheduling plays a huge part because not having enough employees will put a strain on those that are working. Rotating workers between different assignments can aid in eliminating repetitive movements and avoiding overtime can help prevent fatigue.
  3. A further administrative control that should be put into place is to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all employees. PPE safety equipment includes knee pads, shoulder pads, gloves and back bels. Safe lifting techniques should be taught to all employees to prevent chronic back pain.