Injuries at work happen – it’s a fact. It’s why dedicated safety professionals like those at DRASafety.com.au exist. Check out the top four injuries in workplaces, in a list drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and see why regular safety audits and first-aid certifications are an absolute must-have in your workplace!
1. Sprains and strains
All work is done with our hands, feet, and bodies in general, even in professions where physical labour mightn’t be part of the job description. A sprain means an injury done to the joints or joint capsules – like ankles, knees and wrists – by moving it beyond its normal range of motion. A strain is an over-extension of muscles or tendons. Obviously, these injuries are most common in physically-intense labouring jobs like the construction or logistics industries, but can happen in any job. Sprains and strains are surprisingly common in office environments, and can result from inappropriate footwear, or simply incorrectly lifting something as mundane as a box of printer paper.
2. Chronic joint or muscle injuries
While these may seem superficially similar to “sprains and strains”, and have the same causes, chronic injuries are cumulative and ongoing. Essentially, chronic joint or muscles injuries are the result of damage that adds up over time, often from repetitive actions, and those actions don’t have to be particularly stressful to have an impact. Probably the most well-known example of this repetitive strain injury is that which often results from extended computer use in an office environment. In more physically intense occupations, a chronic injury might be something like cartilage in a knee being completely worn away. These injuries can, in fact, be more dangerous than sprains and strains, as their slow-growing nature means they can “sneak up” on workers, and not have symptoms manifest before serious damage is done. This is why you need to maintain safe work practices – prevention really is better than cure.
3. Cuts or open wounds
Everyone’s familiar with paper cuts – the bane of the office workplace! While they might seem more annoying than serious, they still count. Any wound should be treated properly and seriously, as an open wound provides an ideal entry point for infection and bacteria – never mistake the minor immediate nature of the injury for it not being dangerous. For more serious cuts and wounds, the danger may be obvious – but do you know how to deal with it? Major blood loss is a big deal (not to mention messy, and biologically hazardous to those around the victim)…but don’t discount injury like neural damage, ligament and tendon damage, and damage to internal organs. A bit macabre, but in certain workplaces with heavy equipment or blades, a very real threat.
There’s numerous chances for broken bones to occur in any workplace, though they are a bit rarer than other injuries listed. Bones are tougher than skin or muscle, but that also can mean