Preventing Injuries in the Workplace

Preventing Injuries in the Workplace | Dr. Ali Ghahary

The handling of heavy items is one of the leading causes of injuries both in and outside of the workplace for Canadians today – this includes but is not limited to the lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding or restraining of objects, and can cause musculoskeletal injuries affecting the back, as well as fatigue. Other common workplace injuries may include things like repetitive strain injuries, crashes and/or collisions, cuts and/or lacerations, exposure to loud noise, and inhalation of toxic fumes. Workplace bullying is also another form of a workplace injury that can commonly occur.

In order to prevent workplace injuries from occurring, it’s important that companies incorporate a safety and wellness plan for their employers that covers the varying levels of employee health and safety. Certain workplace injuries can also be the result of an employer being inexperienced, or having an inability to be able to perform certain tasks. As such, it’s also important for some companies to conduct pre-job placement testing and training as a safeguard and way to ensure that the employee’s physical capabilities match the position in which they are hired for. Companies and employees should also frequently discuss the importance of following safety measures. For example, construction workers are typically required to wear hardhats and safety goggles, as well as things like gloves, earplugs, and certain kinds of footwear. This is to prevent significant injury from occurring should a hard, heavy object fall onto the worker, as well as prevent eye injury from things like dust and other particles, and damage to the ears/hearing due to loud noises. Advising employees as to why these types of safety measures are important allows for them to have a better understanding of the risks that can occur should they fail to follow these rules. If you are aware of workplace injuries having occurred in your company in the past, you can use those experiences to develop better strategies and prevent future setbacks from happening. Always make sure workplaces are free of debris and spills, and monitor safety measures that are in place as frequently as possible.

Unfortunately, regardless of how much one prepares, workplace injuries can still occur. In the event that you do suffer a workplace injury, it is important that you not continue to work through that injury – particularly if it relates to the musculoskeletal system. Seeking immediate care, such as from a family physician like Dr. Ali Ghahary, or emergency room physician, can decrease the risk of sustaining permanent damage and allow for quicker healing. Depending on the injury sustained, you could be out of work for several days, weeks or months. One of the most common methods of treatment for workplace injuries that are musculoskeletal in nature, is through a combination of medication (such as NSAIDs, as they help to reduce inflammation) as well as physiotherapy to help improve mobility.

Many workplace related injuries are often reported to WorkSafe BC, which is committed to helping employers and their employees be free from workplace injury. Physicians are also required to send a report to WorkSafe BC within 3 business days of a patient’s visit should the patient be unable to return to work beyond the date in which the injury occurred. For more information, visit WorkSafeBC.com.