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10 Ways To Prevent Workplace Injury

Workplace accidents are no joke. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year in California there were over 197,000 reported injuries at work. 388 of those resulted in deaths. So many accidents can be prevented through basic things. Remember, if you are injured on the job, report the injury and seek medical treatment. Here are some tips for staying safe in the workplace.

1. Use Safety Gear

If your job requires safety gear, make sure to use it. Also, make certain that the safety gear is the right kind for the job and that the safety gear is in good working order. If it's not in good shape, report it to someone immediately. Don't take the risk that it will “be okay.”

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

It is important that you know what is going on around you. Others may not be a safe as you think they are. Also, know the exits in your workplace. Know where emergency safety equipment is located.

3. Get Trained

One of the biggest issues is a lack of proper training. Employer training often lacks proper protocols, and newer employees can be afraid to speak up when they don't understand something. It's okay to ask questions or request a repeat training. Your more-experienced coworkers are a resource: get mentored by masters on the job. If you see an issue with your company's trainings, speak up. It's not just helpful -- it's essential and shows initiative. You can't be great at your job until you've mastered the tools of your trade. Remember, practice does not make perfect -- perfect practice makes perfect. A great baseball coach once told me, “Practicing swinging a bat the wrong way doesn't help.”

4. Report Violations

It is important to report safety violations and help others use equipment properly. If your company ignores safety, they are ignoring the well-being of their employees. That is unacceptable. A good company will appreciate the notice and your dedication to safety in the workplace.

5. Take Breaks

Taking breaks is one of the most important things on this list. Too much focus removes field of vision to allow you to be aware of your surroundings. Without breaks people become fatigued quickly. Breaks restore brain and body function and can be done in seconds by simply taking a breath, looking around, and thinking about something different.

6. Use Correct Posture

So many injuries are from bad body mechanics and bad posture. Think about the best way to approach. This isn't just for people with physical jobs, this applies to anyone from sitting at a desk to lifting crates all day. Plan your workstation - your company may offer ergonomic equipment that you don't even know about. Ask your HR if alternatives are available. Even if alternatives aren't readily available, if you are experiencing pains, a doctor's note for ergonomic items should suffice to make your company acquiesce to reasonable accommodations.

7. Stretch

Whether your job is particularly physical or not, it is important to stretch before and during work. Not only does it keep you alert and awake, but it minimizes that strain put on your body by staying in one position for prolonged periods of time.

8. Get Good Sleep

Most people are walking around sleep deprived. People need sleep! 7-9 hours a night. It recharges your body and your mind. Lack of sleep causes fatigue -- when you're fatigued, your reaction time lessens and it impedes your mind's ability to make good decisions.

9. Avoid Twisting and Use Proper Body Mechanic

Twisting, especially when lifting, can cause significant back strain. Think about how you position your body before you do something. When sitting at a desk - think about how you are sitting. Use the rule of 90's: 90 degree angles for how you sit, position your arms and legs into proper body position. Don't forget to take breaks and stretch. Whether you're sitting all day or lifting crates, jobs take a physical toll. Recognizing the best way to approach the physical part of the job can reduce injuries.

10. See it? Fix it.

When you see something wrong, fix it - or at least notify someone that something needs fixing. Before you leave an area with a problem, mark the problem so someone else who may not notice doesn't get injured. It's everyone's responsibility to keep the workplace safe and free of hazards. So often, employees don't realize that they can make a difference.
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