If you work for one of Evansville’s largest employers, you may be at risk for common workplace injuries. People who work in the Toyota plant or staff Deaconess hospital make up a large percentage of Evansville employees, and the sheer number of workers means workers’ compensation claims are more frequent in these jobs than almost any other in the area.
What injuries are you at risk for in these major Evansville industries? Have you taken every precaution to prevent illness and stress? Keep reading for tips on how to stay safe and healthy in your workplace.
Of all the injuries that result in days off from work in the automotive industry every year, up to 51 percent are caused by sprains, strains, and tears. Of course, the tasks completed in the Toyota plant every day vary widely from administrative jobs to assembly line monitors, but the potential for these injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is high enough to warrant a few precautionary steps.
Causes of Manufacturing Injuries
The most common risk factor for strains in the manufacturing industry is related to the weight of material being handled. Especially with repeated activities, high-force stress can cause severe muscle strains more quickly than almost any other risk factor.
Highly repetitive tasks like typing, packing, and assembling parts also increases your risk of developing an MSD. Tasks are considered “highly repetitive” if they are done in 30-second cycles or faster.
Workers who maintain unhealthy lifestyles also increase their risk for developing muscle strains and other injuries. Lack of adequate sleep leads to decreased balance and awareness. Other health issues like excessive drinking or smoking puts workers at risk not just for MSDs but also other chronic health conditions.
Ways to Avoid Injuries
One important and often ignored aspect of workplace safety is maintaining a good posture. Squaring your hips and flexing your knees when lifting a heavy load distributes muscle stress more evenly throughout your body, reducing the risk of over-stressing one specific area.
Be proactive about clearing and organizing your work area. Take tripping and slipping hazards seriously, cleaning them up yourself if necessary.
Consider changing your break schedule from one long period to several short breaks throughout the day. Use this time to stretch, switch tasks, and hydrate. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you both on and off the job.
Be aware of your physical abilities. If you notice pain somewhere on your body, don’t ignore it; don’t tell yourself it’s just part of the job. Have a doctor examine you and take their advice for reducing the injury, not making it worse.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified healthcare workers as a high risk field for injury, especially for MSDs. According to 2016 statistics, hospital workers reported almost twice as many injuries as construction workers. OSHA reports a large percentage of hospital injuries that result in missed days of work are sprains and other MSDs. Following your employer’s safety procedures and guidelines for handling patients may reduce your risk of injury.
Causes of Healthcare Injuries
Most muscle strains and MSDs in the healthcare profession are caused by lifting or repositioning patients. Any of the following tasks can cause injuries if done improperly:
- Transferring a patient from a wheelchair to their bed
- Transferring a patient from the bathtub to a chair
- Repositioning a patient from side to side in bed
- Lifting a patient in bed to a wheelchair
- Repositioning a patient in a wheelchair
- Making a bed with a patient in it
Another risk factor to those working in the healthcare industry is the prevalence of violent assaults on workers. Due to certain patients’ conditions, medications, and personal histories, these accounts are four times more common in healthcare jobs than in the private industry as a whole.
Ways to Avoid Injuries
If you are being called upon frequently to help move patients manually, consider asking your employer and coworkers for more patient lifting machines or other mechanical devices.
In addition, take responsibility for yourself and your coworkers in your facility by using these devices even when the task seems simple. Creating a culture of safety begins with your daily habits.
Report unsafe conditions, clean up messes (even if you didn’t make them), and organize your work station frequently to help keep everyone around you safe.
If you ever feel uncomfortable assisting certain patients on your own, ask for help or ask your supervisor to assign someone else to the task. You have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, and it is your employer’s responsibility to uphold safety standards at all times.
Help From an Evansville Attorney
Even if you take every precaution, you may still find yourself injured and filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe your injury or illness was caused by the negligence of your employer, and don’t know whether to take a settlement or not, call the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Hensley Legal Group. Your consultation is free, and we may be able to help you get compensation for both your medical bills and lost wages.