This week’s safety topic will review tips related to the injuries and near misses that happen most often in our workplace. They are incidents that we easily overlook when we’re busy or tired. In our efforts to eliminate all injuries from our workplace, focusing on preventing “minor” incidents will prevent “major” incidents from happening. Remember, injuries affect everyone.
Monday – Slips, Trips, and Falls
The most common cause of a slip is too little friction or traction between the floor and the walking surface caused by:
- Wet or oily surface
- Loose or unanchored rugs and mats
- Walking surfaces with less traction
Trips are most commonly caused by:
- Uneven steps or walking surfaces
- Obstruction of view
- Open drawers
- Bad lighting
- Wrinkled carpet
- Loose cables
Tuesday – Exertion and Ergonomics
Another common work place injury is overexertion when lifting caused by the improper use of lifting techniques.
Types of injury include:
- Sprain – the over-stretching or tearing of a ligament
- Strain – the stretching and tearing of tendons and muscles
Overexertion occurs when the work required for a task exceeds the limits of the body’s joints’ capabilities. These injuries most often happen in the shoulder, neck, knee, ankle, wrist, and groin.
Activities that can cause overexertion are:
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Repeated bending or twisting at the waist
Wednesday – Proper Lifting Techniques
Improperly picking up or carrying an object can cause serious injury. It may not happen the first time but if done continuously, it can result in serious injury. Here are some tips to keep in mind when lifting:
- Assess the weight of the load to be lifted by looking at it and by giving the item a little push to get an estimate of the weight.
- Ensure a good grip on the surface of the load before attempting to lift.
- Keep a neutral spine – DO NOT use your back to lift the item. A rounded low back can result in disc problems.
- Hinge at the hips and engage your glutes to lift the item. Do not let your back round.
- Keep the load close to your body. Reaching can cause injury.
- Pay attention to any obstructions in the path of carry.
- Avoid twisting yourbody.
Remember not to lift any load over 35 lbs. unaided. Seek assistance from a proper lifting device or another person.
Always make a plan when moving an item: “How much weight am I lifting? How far is this load going? IS there anything in my way? What is the surface condition like where this load is going?”
Thursday – Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Moist skin
- Upset Stomach
If you or someone around you is showing signs of heat exhaustion, you should:
- Act immediately. If not treated, heat exhaustion may advance to heat stroke or even death.
- Move to a cool, shaded area to rest. Do not leave the victim alone.
- Loosen and remove any heavy clothing.
- If symptoms include dizziness or lightheadedness, lay the victim on his or her back and raise the legs 6-8 inches above the ground.
- If symptoms include nausea or upset stomach, lay the victim on his or her side.
- Have the victim drink cool water unless they are sick to their stomach or unresponsive.
- Cool the person by fanning and spraying with a cool mist of water or applying a wet cloth to the person’s skin (neck, forehead, cheeks, etc.).
Call 911 for help if the victim’s status does not improve in a few minutes.
Friday – Musculoskeletal Disorders
Musculoskeletal disorders, also known as MSDs, are injuries that affect the body’s movement and musculoskeletal system. Parts of the body that can be affected are muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, and blood vessels.
Common disorders are:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Strains and Sprains
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Compression
- Radial Tunner Syndrome
- DeQuervain’s Syndrome
- Mechanical Back Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Ruptured or Herniated Disc
Causes of Musculoskeletal Disorder:
MSDs occur when the body is working hard in one position and begins to fatigue. When fatigue takes over and the body is no longer able to recover, a disorder develops. Using incorrect posture and incorrect ergonomics over time may cause the body to hunch forward, rounding out the spine. Repetition of activities such as sitting at a desk all day without movement may cause a permanent hunch. There are two common factors that can cause a musculoskeletal disorder: ergonomic factors and individual factors.
- Poor posture
Tags: safety culture , safety topics , behavior based safety , BBS ,
- Poor work practices
- Poor fitness
- Poor health habits