8 Common Causes of Workplace Accidents

Tom Reddon, National Forklift Exchange

The workplace can be dangerous, even more so in an industrial environment. Numerous factors can cause accidents, ranging from overexertion to mishandling of hazardous materials. There are also a multitude of variables that can contribute to or influence a workplace incident. Following are eight of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace:


Many employees are prone to sprain, strain or tear a muscle by virtue of lifting an object that is too heavy for them to lift on their own. Keep in mind that there is no harm in asking for help with objects that are difficult to lift.


Failing to take a break is another common cause of accidents. In order to recover from grueling manual labor, it is essential that employees take adequate breaks. Not doing so can lead to a slew of physical issues, including atrophy and general exhaustion. The results of either of these can be far more devastating than taking a 10-minute breather.


Not staying hydrated can also bring about disastrous consequences. On exceptionally hot summer days, failing to drink adequate amounts of water can cause heat stroke or cardiac conditions. This can be avoided by simply drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. Management should stress the importance of proper hydration and rest, as it maximizes the efforts of personnel. 

Poor Lighting

Inadequate lighting is responsible for a number of accidents each year. This is often overlooked when attempting to prevent accidents in the warehouse or workplace.

Hazardous Materials

Improper handling of hazardous materials or not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is another common cause of accidents in the workplace. By reading material safety data sheets and providing the appropriate protective attire, many workplace incidents can be avoided.

Acts of Workplace Violence

Sadly, violence among co-workers has become all too common. It is usually brought about by office politics or other sensitive issues. Integrating conflict resolution and peer mediation can help to reduce the risks of such outbursts.

Trips and Falls 

Slick floors and high-traffic corridors can cause a trip or fall. Improper footwear may also contribute to these accidents, which not only can result in injuries but also workman’s compensation-related cases. Read 6 Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Slips, Trips and Falls for more advice.


Stress is one of the leading causes of death. It affects the human body in every facet imaginable. Stress can foster negative effects physiologically, emotionally and mentally, as well as debilitate or distract any worker. Therefore, it is essential to encourage a supportive team environment.

Subscribe to Machinery Lubrication

About the Author

Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the executive dialogue team of the Mate...