Common workplace hazards workers should be aware of

In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, work-related injuries occur often, which can impact a company's productivity, its insurance rates and the employee's sense of safety at the workplace. However, employees can reduce the threat of injury by being vigilant at the workplace.

Many workers strain their muscles when they overexert themselves while lifting heavy objects. This hazard can be avoided with on-the-job training and with help from coworkers. In addition, job tasks that involve repetitive motion can trigger injuries to hand and finger muscles.

Falls from tripping, slipping or colliding at the worksite often result in serious injuries. High-traffic work areas should be well-lit and free of clutter. Liquid spills or freshly cleaned and waxed floors can be very dangerous to employees, especially to those without slip-resistant shoes. Doors opened too quickly, extended filing cabinets and rushing employees can present unavoidable hazards to other employees. A collision with objects or other employees could lead to heavy items being knocked over, which may cause further injuries.

Employees who do not carefully handle dangerous materials such as flammable gas and liquids, toxic chemicals or infectious materials could be severely burned or blinded, or they could incur respiratory diseases. They could also suffer further injuries if an accidental explosion occurs.

Stress and fatigue can cause a worker to be mentally or physically impaired at the workplace, which in turn makes them more prone to accidents and mistakes that might lead to potential injuries. Other workers face threats of workplace violence from angry coworkers, strangers or even relatives such as a former spouse.

In Pennsylvania, employers are required by law to carry workers' compensation for their employees who have been injured on the job. If, however, an employer or insurer denies the claim, a local workers' compensation attorney might be able to analyze the case and refute the reason for the denial.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries", Christina Hamlett, December 08, 2014

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