Every year millions of Americans suffer a serious injury. Oftentimes the injuries occur at work or at home. In 2016 alone, 5,190 people died of injuries on the job and countless others were injured. It’s the largest number of fatalities since 2008. According to the CDC, injuries also accounted for over 40 million ER visits.
Despite there being safety measures everywhere, accidents still happen and injury rates can rise. When an injury does occur it can dramatically alter a person’s life as well as the company they work for if it was work-related. It’s up to each one of us to take precautions and watch out for situations that can become dangerous. When it comes to safety an ounce of prevention is worth a 100 pounds of cure.
Whether you’re an amateur woodworker that loves to tinker in the garage or a specialized equipment operator on a construction site, following the six safety measures below dramatically reduces the risk of injury.
Wear Protective Eyewear
One of the most common types of injuries that occur in the garage or on a worksite are eye injuries. Most injuries can be avoided by simply putting on a pair of protective glasses or goggles.
The key is to make sure you choose glasses or goggles that provide adequate protection. The glasses should fit snugly to your face and be able to withstand a hit without shattering. Look for glasses that are OSHA-approved to ensure they meet minimal safety standards. You’ll also want to find a pair that is ANSI-rated, which is another indicator the glasses meet or exceed safety recommendations. If you wear glasses for vision purposes, a pair of ANSI prescription safety glasses will be needed for safety.
Disconnect It, Don’t Risk It
Electrical shocks can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation. Fortunately, this is a completely avoidable injury that can be prevented by simply disconnecting the power.
Anytime you are working with electricity live by the motto disconnect it, don’t risk it. This means shutting off the power supply completely so that electrical shock isn’t possible. Turning off the electrical supply will also prevent an accidental fire. And if you aren’t experienced in electrical work hire someone who is.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration occurs more often than many people realize. The majority of American adults are chronically dehydrated, and even if you do drink lots of liquids it’s easy to get depleted when you’re busy working.
Dehydration can be a dangerous medical condition in and of itself, but the side effects are equally perilous when you’re working with equipment, carrying heavy objects and climbing ladders. When you’re dehydrated, the symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, confusion and fainting. Any of those symptoms can cause an accident that leads to a serious injury.
Secure All Cords
The National Safety Council has found slips and trips are the second most common reason for workers compensation claims. A fall can cause a broken bone, trauma, muscle injury or wound that takes time to heal.
Cords pose one of the greatest trip threats. Never place cords so that they cross a pathway. If a cord has to pass through the pathway tape it to the floor with electrical tape and put out a warning sign. Cords that hang down from above should also be secured so that people don’t run into them or accidentally snag the cords.
Clear All Pathways
Another way to prevent slips and trips is to take the initiative to clear all pathways. Look for objects that jut out into the pathway as well as uneven surfaces that can create a tripping hazard. Clear away all clutter so that the pathways are at least two to three feet wide.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
The number one cause of injuries in the workplace is overexertion. When people push themselves past their limit that’s when accidents are most likely to occur. Fatigue can make a task that’s normally easy much more difficult. Muscles that are already strained can give way without notice.
In addition to knowing the proper technique for lifting and moving objects, the best thing you can do to prevent overexertion is to take breaks regularly. Also, consider how tools can be used to reduce the amount of manual labor needed to complete a task.
Protecting yourself and those around you is largely about knowing your limitations and taking precautions. Follow the advice above and you can worry a lot less about getting injured while you’re working.