Just as the pedometer took over the workplace wellness initiatives of recent years, wearable technologies continue to make their way into the industrial workplace. In 2015, we reviewed some of the latest tools to be developed in an effort to increase workplace safety. As with everything else technology-related these days, the creation of these tools moves fast and furious, and there is already a slew of new tech-based tools appearing in factories worldwide, as recently noted by the Wall Street Journal.
Slips, trips and falls (STFs) can result in dangerous (even fatal) and costly outcomes. While these types of injuries can occur in many workplaces, there are certain industries that experience a higher incidence of STF’s:
If you’re looking to prevent warehouse workplace injuries, an ergonomically designed workplace and structured ergonomics training for employees is a great place to start. However, if your injury prevention program begins and ends right there, you're missing out on a key strategy that has been proven to reduce workplace injuries and the expenses that go with them: Physical Abilities Testing.
Employers who invest in workplace health and safety programs are seeing measurable results in the reductions in workers' comp injuries, and as the numbers of employers making those investments has risen in recent years, nationwide rates of many common types of on-the-job injuries have fallen. However, according to an article published by Risk & Insurance Magazine, shoulder injuries are a notable exception to that trend, with some workers' comp experts seeing an upward tick in lost-time claims for these injuries. Others are seeing rates of claims for shoulder injuries remain stubbornly constant, even as the frequency of lost-time claims for injuries to most body parts fell by an average of 13.9 percent.
Musculoskeletal injuries are a major issue in the beverage industry. According to a study done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), this industry has significantly higher rates of occupational accidents and injuries than the manufacturing industry as a whole, and more than double the private industry rate. Additionally, NIOSH states that nearly three-fifths of injury and illness cases in the beverage industry were serious enough to require time off from work.
In discussions about preventing workplace injuries, many of tend to categorize injuries into two types: fatal and non-fatal. On paper, the "non-deadly" injuries are the ones that occur, the claims are resolved, and the box is checked off. However, in many cases, things are not that simple in real life for the injured employee. Many workplace injuries, although not life-ending, are certainly life-altering incidents, and injured workers are left to contend with their disabling effects for the rest of their lives.
Slips, trips, and falls rank among the leading causes of injury, accounting for more than 8.7 million injuries per year according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. According to BLS figures, slips, trips, and falls are a major concern in the workplace, accounting for nearly a quarter of all on-the-job injuries. The direct costs of these workplace injuries, according to a report published by Liberty Mutual, were more than $16 billion in 2014. These figures clearly establish slips, trips, and falls as an important focus area in employers' efforts towards preventing workplace injuries.
Ergonomic injuries in the workplace are a significant problem, accounting for one-third of all days away from work injury cases in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What, exactly, are ergonomic injuries? They are musculoskeletal injuries or disorders – injuries that affect muscles, nerves, and tendons – such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and back, shoulder, and neck injuries, as well as other sprains and strains. They can be caused by factors that include lifting, bending, reaching, pushing, pulling, working in awkward body postures, and repetitive postures or movements in the course of an employee's daily work.
Noise generally is not the first issue to spring to mind when the topic of designing an ergonomic workplace is being discussed. However, excessive noise can be a serious environmental hazard in the workplace, and is often identified as such in ergonomic assessments. Excessive noise is also an issue that is addressed by OSHA health and safety standards, which specifies excessive noise exposure as being at or above an 8-hour time weighted average of 85 decibels as an ergonomic hazard. So just how serious is excessive noise in terms of workplace health and safety?