Workplace accidents can lead to devastating, life-changing injuries. Workers in occupations from heavy industry and construction to retail and an office setting can get hurt and face medical treatments, time off work and a lengthy course of physical therapy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities and thousands of injurious accidents in the workplace each year. Three elements play a role in leading to workplace accidents:
- Friction refers to the resistance between objects.
- Momentum is affected by the speed and mass of an object.
- Gravity refers to the force exerted on an object by the Earth.
OSHA encourages workers to stay safe and supervisors to provide the necessary training, guidance and protective equipment for the workplace. These three physical factors can combine to cause severe injuries in even same-level falls.
- Slips are a loss of balance caused by too little friction between the feet and the surface being crossed. The loss of traction can be the result of wet surfaces, spills or environmental hazards such as rain, ice or snow.
- Trips occur when a worker steps on a surface with enough momentum to be thrown off balance.
- Falls are the end result of a worker moving too far off his or her center of balance. Falls can be a slip-and-fall accident on a wet surface or a fall down a flight of stairs due to torn carpeting. According to OSHA, falls account for more workplace fatalities than any other reason.
It is a supervisor’s responsibility to maintain a safe, efficient work environment. Without proper signage, safety precautions, training and safety equipment, workers can suffer a broad range of injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, multiple fractures and torn ligaments. If you were injured in a workplace accident, it is important that you discuss the benefits and monetary compensation you might be entitled to.