Poor Ergonomics Leads Top Causes of Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries cost businesses over $1 billion per week, according to the “Liberty Mutual 2019 Workplace Safety Index.” The study identifies the top 10 causes of disabling injuries at work and their costs. Ergonomics related injuries are number one, with a total cost of $13.1 billion.

As a supplier of ergonomic equipment, we can’t stress enough how important it is for workers to have the proper support when body movement or lifting is required. Let’s take a closer look at the top ten, and how to avoid the problems.

#1. OVEREXERTION, INCLUDING OUTSIDE SOURCES

Certain exertions, particularly when done repetitively, can put stress and strain on muscles, tendons and joints. This can lead to debilitating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). (photo courtesy American Sales Development)

Injuries related to pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing top the Liberty Mutual study.

How to Avoid

When it comes to assessing and solving these issues, the first thing to look at is ergonomics. Poor workplace ergonomics leave workers vulnerable to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These injures can be debilitating and lead to significant out of work, insurance and other costs to businesses. Ergonomic equipment such as height adjustable lifts, and vacuum and magnetic lifts, among others can help dramatically reduce the risk of MSDs.

#2. FALLS ON SAME LEVEL

Accidents happen, but most workplace accidents can be prevented with the right workspace setup and employee awareness.

How to Avoid

There are a number of steps that can be taken to help avoid falls. Make sure your employees are wearing proper footwear that grips the floor and provides the right support. Ensure that walking traffic areas are consistently clear of debris and obstacles. Set up lighting to properly illuminate areas with foot traffic. Lastly, ensure all walking surfaces are non-slip.

#3. STRUCK BY OBJECT OR EQUIPMENT

The third leading source of workplace injury is when objects fall from above and strike workers. This issue can be avoided several ways.

How to Avoid

Give employees a “heads up” by provide signage when there is potential risk of falling objects. Secure the edges of high spaces, such as storage areas, with rails and barricades that keep objects in place. And, workers should always secure loads when moving them to another level or lifting objects high. This includes the use of ergonomic equipment, such as ergonomic lifts and manipulators, and self-leveling carts.

#4. FALLS TO LOWER LEVEL

Falls from high places, such as ladders or platforms, can be extremely dangerous. Ladder falls can lead to serious injury and are responsible for numerous deaths each year.

How to Avoid

Although this is not the most common cause of injury in the workplace, it is one of the most serious. To prevent falls from high places, start by making sure workers have the right equipment. Ladders, for example, should be well-constructed and parts should be in good working order. Always secure the edges of high places with rails or barricades. Make sure workers wear appropriate footwear that provides support and grip. And, make sure ladders are properly set up to be level and placed on a secure footing when in use.

#5. OTHER EXERTIONS OR BODILY REACTIONS

Ergonomics plays another big role here. The fifth cause of workplace injuries involves crawling, bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, kneeling or walking. These exertions, particularly when done repetitively, can put stress and strain on muscles, tendons and joints. This can lead to debilitating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

How to Avoid

The best way to eliminate these motions is with the aid of ergonomic equipment. Desk and workstation lifts automatically adjust the height of workstations to a comfortable level. Ergonomic lifts and manipulators help eliminate bending and twisting by lifting, tilting and turning barrels, drums, rolls and boxes. Self-leveling carts aid the process of unloading parts and products from skids, pallets or bulk containers.

The remaining top ten causes of disabling workplace injuries are as follows: #6 vehicle accidents; #7 slip or trip without fall; #8 caught in or compressed by equipment or objects; #9 repetitive motions involving microtasks; and #10 struck against objects or equipment.

In Conclusion

The folks at Ergo Equipment are not surprised to see poor ergonomics among the top causes of disabling workplace injuries. Learning about these issues—and taking steps to avoid them—will go a long way towards keeping workers safe and avoiding significant costs to businesses. IHW

[Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as a blog on ASD’s website: https://ergoequipment.net/poor-ergonomics-leads-top-causes-of-workplace-injuries/ ]

American Sales Development (ASD) sells innovative ergonomic products and systems that lift, move and control safely and easily in industrial environments. Poor ergonomics encourages a greater risk of workplace injury, particularly lower back injury. As safety awareness in the workplace continues to grow, ASD is there to help provide the products you need to stay safe.