Work-related injuries and deaths may be more common than you think—particularly among men.
For many, a bad day at work may involve unnecessary meetings, a flood of emails and hectic deadlines. However, for others—particularly those who work in some of the more dangerous industries such as construction, agriculture or manufacturing—a bad day on the job might include a workplace accident that can be debilitating or even fatal.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.9 million workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2016, and the same organization reported that 4,836 workers experienced a fatal injury while on the job in 2015.
While women are certainly at risk, men experience the majority of work-related risks. In fact, men account for 93 percent of work-related fatalities—a statistic likely influenced by the differences in jobs that men and women tend to take.
Don’t get too discouraged, fellas. The following safety tips can make any work environment a little safer.
• Know your job. Be familiar with your work environment and any factors that could be potentially dangerous. Be extra cautious when hazards are present.
• Use safety equipment. If your job requires a harness, safety goggles, a hard hat, steel-toe boots or any other type of safety equipment, use it. The equipment is required for a reason—and that’s to help prevent injuries.
• Take breaks. Many work injuries and fatalities are the result of a worker losing focus due to drowsiness or feeling burned out. Breaks can help keep you fresh and focused. Consider scheduling difficult tasks earlier in the day when your concentration is best.
• Remember proper technique. The most common work-related injuries for both men and women are sprains, strains and tears. Use proper technique and posture when performing work-related tasks. If your job requires a lot of physical activity, it can be helpful to stretch throughout the day.
• Report problems. If you notice a potential safety hazard, notify a supervisor immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to creating a safe working environment.
• Follow safety procedures. Most companies have safety procedures in place for a reason. They know the dangers associated with the job and have put processes in place to keep people safe. Even if they may seem tedious, it’s crucial to always follow instructions.
Recognizing danger is often the best way to avoid it. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified the following as the six main causes of work-related deaths in the United States:
• Transportation and roadway incidents
• Falls, slips and trips
• Contact with work equipment or machinery
• Violence and other injuries by persons or animals
• Exposure to harmful substances or environments
• Fires and explosions
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that those who experience a workplace injury or illness immediately report the event to their supervisor and fill out the company’s injury report form. If your injury or illness is serious, you should seek immediate medical attention.