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Blue-collar workers, technicians and trades along with the construction and mining industries have the highest risks when it comes to industrial hazards, but this doesn't mean that other occupations are safe from harm's way. From open wounds and fractures to strains, physical injuries and falls, the type and severity of injuries suffered in any workplace can vary significantly.
While there's no magic cure to completely eliminate risks from industrial hazards, there are strict health and safety measures that can be taken to reduce them. With the right knowledge and proper safety training, the severity of workplace injuries can be lessened as well as the effects on the involved staff. Following are four hazards that can be minimized with safety training.
Falling from heights is one of the biggest threats in the workplace. Each year, falls account for the greatest number of fatalities, especially in the construction and mining industries. The most common factors involving falls are misuse of fall-protection equipment (or no use at all), human error and unstable working surfaces. Using the correct safety equipment offers the best solution for this type of hazard. Safety-net systems, fall-arrest systems and restraint systems can help prevent a number of deaths and injuries. Warning signs and control-line systems should also be in place to alert workers near edges. Also, make certain that all relevant staff are trained to recognize the risks and to use height safety equipment.
Using equipment in the workplace and servicing machines on the job make up a large percentage of workplace injuries and fatalities. Raising industry awareness to ensure all machinery is utilized properly is one of the most crucial steps in preventing these injuries. Working with heavy-duty equipment like forklifts and elevated platforms requires extensive training to safely operate or assess the risks involved. The right equipment training can also help certify that personnel have the necessary permits before using or servicing any machines as well as provide confidence for workers.
Other safety measures to prevent injuries include performing regular risk assessments on the machinery and verifying that all staff are aware of the risks involved, know what to do should something happen and understand the importance of replacing faulty machines.
Physical injuries such as back strains, sprains and fractures are extremely common risks regardless of your workplace. Poor work practices and a lack of risk assessments can create such hazards, so the right training for the job is essential. Physical injuries can be prevented by learning to lift properly, using protective equipment and reducing the stress on your body by knowing your limits.
By obtaining health and safety training suitable for your workplace and job, you'll have a better understanding of how to assess risks. Once a risk can be assessed effectively, safety measures can be put into place to reduce the risk or eliminate it completely.
The impact of minor cuts and bruises to more serious threats and medical emergencies can be minimized by having at least one staff member who is confident and trained to perform first-aid. This can be critical when waiting for an ambulance to arrive at the scene. A variety of first-aid courses are available, covering basic preventive measures to more comprehensive procedures. At the bare minimum, your staff should have a basic understanding of first-aid. In higher risk-prone work industries, it may be necessary to have two first-aid personnel who can perform CPR, assess risk and keep the patient stable until further help arrives.