At State Fund, we insure all types of businesses in all areas of the state—from construction and agriculture in Eureka, to retail and restaurants in San Diego—and everything in between. Here are two important things our data tells us about the most common workplace injuries: 1.) the most common injury is not what you might think, and 2.) it is completely preventable.
So what is the most common type of injury in California? You might think it’s falls or maybe repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. But the fact is, the number one injury sustained across all industries in the state is muscle or tendon strains. And the main cause of those strains was contact with objects or equipment, including the misuse of them as well as slipping off of them, tripping on them or colliding with them.
The good news is strains are preventable. Consider the following:
- Think about how you move your product in your business. Is there a lot of material handling? If so, how can you do it so that the employees have the least amount of stress on their backs?
- What types of equipment can you use to help the employees and make your business more efficient?
- Would an automatic pallet wrapping machine help?
- What about lift gates on your trucks?
Here’s what you can do to help prevent strains:
- Provide training on proper lifting techniques and ergonomics.
- Ensure workers take breaks to rest and recover.
- Provide tools, machines, and workstations that offer a range of motion.
- Practice good housekeeping on the job site.
Often the best way to fix a problem is to ask your employees what would make their tasks easier. They have great ideas that can help. Employee safety committees can be a great opportunity for increasing safety and morale. If a committee is not viable in your operation, you should have regular safety meetings that can improve your safety program.
The most important thing is safety training for your staff. Whenever you hire a new employee or change a process, you should train all impacted. Follow up to make sure that they understand and provide regular refresher training. Once and done should not apply to safety training.
Find more safety resources to help reduce employee injuries, workers’ comp claims, and in turn increase your profits.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.