Workers in all industries in Florida face occupational hazards almost every day. Even seemingly insignificant risks can cause injuries with long-term health and financial consequences. Although providing a safe work environment and protecting your safety and health are your employer’s responsibilities, it might be a good idea to learn about the hazards in your workplace.
Once you can identify risks, you can take precautions to avoid injuries that will have you facing medical bills and lost wages. Although each industry has unique hazards, there are a few basic risks that exist in all workplaces.
Slips and trips
Regardless of the type of work you do, slip and trip hazards will risk your safety. These facts might help you to identify slip and trip risks:
- A combination of dangerous work environments and gravity cause most slip, trips and falls.
- Poor housekeeping can expose you to damaged flooring as well as loose or frayed mats or floor rugs
- Cleaning floors outside of work hours can avoid slippery floors during the hours of employee activities.
- Anti-slip flooring can prevent slips and falls.
- Wearing footwear with non-slip soles might be a good idea.
- Take special care when you walk in poorly lit areas like stairways and outside walkways.
Most slips, trips and falls are same-level incidents that could cause a variety of injuries that might include fractured bones, back injuries and even traumatic brain injuries.
Falling from heights
Falls from heights can occur on construction sites, in warehouses and even in an office storeroom. Take the following precautions:
- Too many construction workers fall from scaffolds and other elevated areas. You can insist on being equipped with a fall arrest harness.
- Avoid using random objects to work on out of reach areas, such as chairs in an office environment, using a forklift to reach high shelves in a warehouse, or standing on bricks or other building materials on a construction site.
- Never use a ladder to stand on while you work. Use it only to access an area such as a roof.
- Never miss safety training sessions that will teach you about proper placing of ladders and scaffolds, and you should know when to insist on safety features such as barriers, railings, safety nets and other devices.
Weather also plays a significant role in ladder and scaffold safety. Working at heights in the rain and strong winds can be life-threatening.
A significant percentage of workplace injuries cause muscle pains and strains. Here’s how to prevent them:
- Take frequent breaks if you do repetitive work.
- Alternate tasks to avoid overexertion of certain muscle groups.
- Learn proper lifting techniques to prevent shoulder and back pain.
- Use trolleys, conveyor belts and other devices when they are available or ask for help when objects are too heavy to lift.
If you have suffered injuries despite taking all these precautions, you might feel overwhelmed by mountains of medical bills and the inability to return to work. Fortunately, the Florida workers’ compensation insurance program pays benefits to injured workers. While you focus on recovering, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can navigate the benefits claim on your behalf.