It's estimated that nearly six out of every 100 full-time employees in the United States sustain a work-related injury in any given year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While some of these injuries are minor, others are more severe and debilitating. As an employer, it's your responsibility to create a safe working environment to minimize the risk of work-related injuries. Below are five surprising factors that affect workplace injury rates.
#1) Duration of Employment
Not surprisingly, new employees are more likely to be injured on the job than seasoned, long-time employees. According to one study, over one-quarter of all work-related injuries occur during the first year of employment. When an employee is new, he or she may lack the necessary training to minimize the risk of injury.
#2) Night vs Day Shift
Whether an employee works during the day or during the night can also affect his or her risk of injury. A report published by HG.org found that nighttime workers are more likely to be injured than daytime workers. Why are nighttime workers more likely to be injured exactly? Well, during the night, workers typically experience greater fatigue and exhaustion, which can impair their motor skills and, therefore, increase their risk of injury.
The use, or non-use, of personal protective equipment (PPE) can affect the risk of injury among workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to provide workers with the appropriate PPE. Unfortunately, not all employers comply with this requirement, resulting in higher rates of workplace injuries.
#4) Machine and Equipment Maintenance
For businesses that use machines and/or equipment, maintenance shouldn't be overlooked. Machines and equipment must be properly maintained. Otherwise, workers may injure themselves when using it. And during the maintenance of machines and equipment lockout/tag mechanisms should be used.
#5) Training and Education
Finally, the way in which workers are trained and educated on how to perform their job can affect their risk of injury. If a worker is given a job with little or no formal training or education, conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that he or she has a high risk of injury. In comparison, workers who are properly trained and educated on how to perform their job generally have a low risk of injury. This is why it's important for employers to create a formal training and education program for all their workers.