On the job, you and your workers’ safety should be the number one priority. Pros come in contact with dangerous tools and situations with your work. Many of us know common safety precautions, but accidents can happen and you should be prepared if they do. Here is what you need to know to best handle injuries on the job site.
According to OSHA, falls are the most common cause of work-related injuries and deaths on the job. This can be from simple ladders to scaffolding and roofing. A fall can result in serious and permanent injuries; so proper attention should be given.
If a team member has fallen from a tall height, including ladders or roofs, call 911 immediately. Do not move them as this can result in further injury but try to make them as comfortable as possible. If you have fallen from a high surface, call an ambulance and try to stay comfortable and warm. This is important to not further break or damage bones in your body.
If you have a short fall, do not get up quickly. When you are able, slowly move to a piece of furniture and rest, putting something soft down to rest on. Take time before carrying on with the rest of your duties.
Minimize the risk of falls by:
- Covering any openings and floor holes
- Providing a guard rail
- Keeping floors dry
- Following the 4-to-1 rule for ladders
Cuts & Lacerations
Pros work with many sharp and dangerous tools to cut through wood, concrete, metal and more. If you do cut yourself with a saw or other tool and see fat, muscle or bone, don’t delay medical attention.
For deep cuts that don’t require medical attention, clean the wound as soon as possible. Wrap a clean towel or bandage around the wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Apply an antibiotic ointment and use gauze to wrap the area. Butterfly bandages work well to help close a deep cut. If the cut is on a joint where you bend often, try to stabilize it with a splint, if possible. When in doubt, seek medical attention.
Minimize the risk of cuts & lacerations by:
- Wearing gloves when working with power tools
- Always focusing on the task when operating a tool
- Being aware of sharp objects in your area
- Keeping your workplace clean
- Always retracting blades on tools when not in use
Some pros work with hot tools, scolding water or fire when on the job. Burns can be one of the most preventable job site accidents. Any burns above second degree, meaning the burn has blistered, caused swelling and redness, should get medical treatment. According to the National Library of Medicine, any burn that is from a fire, electrical or chemicals should be treated like a major burn and also be treated by a doctor.
For minor burns, get the affected area under running, cool water as quick as possible. Don’t break any blisters that may appear and put an anti-burn ointment on the area. To prevent the burn from rubbing or touching other things, like clothing, wrap it in a light layer of gauze.
Minimize the risk of burns by:
- Knowing if any products you’re working with are flammable
- Always wearing proper protective gear when working with harsh chemicals
- Storing chemicals correctly according to directions
- Not touching an object if it has the possibility of being hot
Another common workplace injury is from falling objects or “struck-by” accidents. This can happen from walking under an elevated work surface, when materials are being moved over your head as you work on ground level. The biggest concern with any falling object accident is head trauma or a concussion. With any head injury, immediate medical attention is required. Concussion symptoms can develop over time, so though you or your coworker might feel fine, if behavior changes or abnormal sleepiness occurs, this could be a sign that it’s likely more serious.
If there is a falling object, avoid saying “look out,” because people instinctively tend to look up rather than moving out of the way. Some suggestions instead would be “rock” or “falling” to properly communicate a worker to move to safety.
Minimize the risk of falling object injuries by:
- Properly communicating if there is an object moving overhead
- Not leaving items close to ledges
- Wearing a hardhat when working with things overhead
- Properly securing anything that will be moving above the job site
There is nothing more important than safety on the job. Take the necessary precautions to avoid having any accidents occur. Purchase a First Aid kit full of medical supplies if an injury was to occur and always call 911 when in doubt. If you do have to call for an emergency, know the address where you’re located so paramedics can find you quickly and easily. Finally, communicate safety best practices with your employees and teammates so everyone can work together in a harm-free environment.