Accidents in the workplace happen for a number of reasons. The results of a workplace accident can be minimal or tragic, causing minor injury, damage to equipment or even in some cases, major injury or death. Employees need to stay alert and aware at all times to avoid accidents, while managers need to know the most common causes for workplace accidents and be able to spot the risk factors early to prevent one.
Tiredness is one of the leading causes of workplace accidents. When you are tired, you are not as alert and aware. You might daydream or get distracted easier than when you are well rested. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, though some individuals may be able to function with a little less and some require more sleep. The key is to be consistent; one night of little sleep can throw you off for several days or more.
Overexertion is another leading cause of accidents that often result in injury at the workplace. Lack of sleep is one possible cause of overexertion, but you can get plenty of sleep and still be overexerted. Working too hard, too fast or too much might cause overexertion. Also, too many house chores or errands each day can lead to overexertion. You need to find time to relax during the day, and when you are at work, you need to take periodic breaks from the job to help you stay fresh and alert. Many workplaces provide employees with short breaks throughout the day, plus a break for lunch or a meal. Take those breaks, even if you feel like you don't need them, to avoid overexertion.
Carelessness is another cause of accidents at work. Some people can multitask, while others need to focus on one thing at a time. Understand how you work best; if you are in the middle of something and get distracted, step away for a minute to refocus, then go back to doing what you are doing. Tell your managers and co-workers to not distract you when you are busy. If you are in an office, close your door to keep your focus. Be alert of your surroundings and pay attention to the work you are doing.
Improper technique or lack of training also can cause accidents at work, especially when dealing with machinery or manually operated equipment. Do not operate a piece of equipment without a complete training and instruction session. Ask any questions you have. Understand how the equipment works before you operate it. It is helpful to have someone familiar with the equipment first show you, then watch you operate it for a while until you are both comfortable you know what you are doing.
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- Roads & Bridges: Workplace Injury Causes and Costs
- Progressive Insurance: Workplace Accidents Prevention and Tiredness
- EHS Today: Liberty Mutual Ranks Leading Causes of Workplace Injuries
- The Travis Law Firm: Common Causes of Workplace Injury
- National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
- Law Info: Legal Requirements for Lunch and Break Times