Acute Work Injuries on the Job
There are always risks involved when doing various work such as acute work injuries. The obvious risk for windows washers are bone fractures as a result of falling, cuts and burns for chefs and severe injuries for drivers as a result of collisions. These can be minimized when companies and worker practice the principles of HIRARC or Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control. But let us detail the possible acute work injuries that can happen thanks to unsafe acts and unsafe conditions.
- Slips, Trips and Falls – Acute work injuries can happen in any work setting. Even office desk jockeys can slip and fall thanks to an overly-moist floor mopped by the janitor. Tripping can happen because of an exposed electrical cord. Fractures or other serious injuries can occur when doing work that require working at heights such as changing light bulbs, working with ladders, platforms and scaffolding; especially without the proper precautions and safety gear. Sadly, these injuries are quite common.
- Falling Objects – Head injuries, concussions and crushed bodies are common when dealing with falling objects and suspended loads. This is common when working in construction and improperly stocked warehouses. In warehouses, this can be avoided if stacking instructions are properly followed. In construction, proper tethering of tools is important as well as wearing of hard hats to avoid any acute work injuries.
- Muscle Strains and Repetitive Strain Injury – Take heed when someone tells you that you are working too hard. Muscle strain is all too common among acute work injuries. Doing the same activity for long periods of time or more than prescribed can cause serious strain on the muscles resulting in painful knots that can prevent further work. Workers are advised to take regular breaks or engage in different tasks to prevent this. RSI or repetitive strain injury is common for office workers who use computers. RSI can cause damage to the hands and wrists if not addressed with regular breaks and proper ergonomics.
- Cuts and Lacerations – Acute work injuries are common among the food preparation, construction and manufacturing industries. Improper use of scissors and cutters are also a thing for office workers. Proper safety procedures and training can minimize this serious type of work injury.
- Crashes and Collisions – Acute work injury from crashes and collisions are often associated with workers involved with driving or office workers running into clear unmarked glass walls or panes. The best way to minimize these are serious seat belt policies, drug and alcohol policies, rest periods on long drives as well as defensive driving training. As for collisions with infrastructure, equipment and furniture, drug and alcohol policies also apply along with proper rest as well as cellphone policies.
- Toxic Fume Inhalation – This is also a serious work injury despite having no visual cues. The fact that no apparent visual cues make it quite dangerous as the affects can only be seen when it’s quite late, such as long term damages to internal organs. This is common in manufacturing industries that deal with toxic chemicals as well as the automotive industry. Workers should be provided protective gear such as masks or even bodysuits designed for the level of danger of the chemicals involved.
- Insufficient Lighting and Loud Noise – This is another cause for not so obvious acute work injuries. Insufficient illumination can cause eye strain resulting in eye damage necessitating the wearing of glasses. Loud noises gradually cause ear damage and later deafness. The best way to fight these is to increase illumination through complete renovation of the workplace to allow for more light and less noise or to provide better lighting and ear protection for workers.