5 most common workplace accidents and how to prevent them

By Anita Ginsburg

According to the National Safety Council, an employee is injured on the job every seven seconds in the United States. These accidents cost employers thousands of dollars in medical care and time off work, which can be especially damaging for small businesses. However, many accidents are preventable. Taking time to address safety concerns before an accident occurs can help keep employees safe and can save business owners money.

Falls, slips and trips

Falls, slips and trips account for approximately 28 percent of all workplace injuries. These accidents may result in employees receiving a head or back injury, laceration, pulled muscle, or a sprain. Slips and falls commonly occur due to oily or wet surfaces. Trips may occur due to uneven walking surfaces, loose rugs and mats or poor lighting.

To prevent these common injuries in your workplace, post caution signs in wet or oily areas and require all employees to wear non-slip shoes. Additionally, rugs and mats should be attached to the floor beneath them.


Employees who do repetitive tasks for long periods of time may be subject to injuries due to overexertion. These kinds of tasks lead to pulled and strained muscles which may be overlooked as an injury until after they’ve caused serious harm and delayed work.

Properly training employees in lifting techniques can help reduce these injuries. Employees should avoid twisting, reaching and bending while lifting objects to prevent back injuries. Giving employees frequent, short breaks can also help.


Businesses who utilize moving machinery must take precautions in order to protect employees. Machinery accidents include getting caught in a machine, being hit by a machine part or being electrocuted by broken parts or frayed wires. These injuries can result in you receiving severed body parts, crushed fingers or blindness.

Workers compensation attorneys say that injuries due to machines cost millions of dollars in claims each year. Employees should properly guard machinery, inspect them frequently for repairs and properly train employees in their use.

Transportation-related injuries

Vehicular accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, and your employees may become injured while driving company vehicles or while working alongside the road.

Ensure that your employees have proper driver training and that all vehicles are well-maintained. If your employees are working on the side of the road, you should place traffic safety cones around the working area and employees wear bright-colored vests to alert oncoming traffic to their presence.

Toxic material exposure

Breathing in, touching or being splashed with toxic materials can have detrimental effects on your employees’ health. These accidents can cause lung, skin and eye problems.

All employees who deal with toxic materials should always wear goggles and protective clothes and gloves. Proper ventilation is also critical in keeping employees safe.

Employers have the legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace environment for their employees as well as proper training and equipment. Taking the time to make the workplace safe can help prevent disastrous accidents from occurring. The effort put into your employees’ safety will protect your business as much as it protects your employees.


Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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