According to statistics, 1.7 million employees in the UK suffer from work-related illnesses. Whether it’s a physical injury or physiological disorder, when employees’ health is affected, the consequences can be severe. Fortunately, fatality rates have decreased over time due to companies’ safety measures. Employers can take advantage of new technologies to protect workers and ensure their business runs smoothly for a long time.
Workplace safety and productivity are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they complement each other. When companies create a culture of well-being, employees can focus on the quality of the work they deliver instead of worrying about potential hazards. Psychosocial and physical conditions at work influence outcomes like employee turnover, productivity and healthcare expenses. Workers’ health and safety are paramount in achieving a company’s desired efficiency and productivity. Employers can take several steps towards this positive outcome, one of which is using tech tools to enhance safety.
Common workplace injuries
Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of workplace injuries. Employees may:
- Slip on an oily, icy or wet floor;
- Trip due to poor lighting, clutter or unprotected sides;
- Fall off roofs, ladders or high construction areas.
Strained muscles are another common work-related injury, especially back and neck strains. These injuries can be prevented easily by training employees on proper lifting techniques.
Being struck by falling objects
Unfortunately, workers often get struck by falling objects, and this issue isn’t common only in warehouse-type environments. Objects falling out of cupboards or shelves can cause severe injuries. Employers can prevent this accident by reminding workers to store items safely.
Exposure to harmful substances
Individuals working with hazardous chemicals risk serious injuries to their eyes, skin, ears and respiratory systems. Using protective equipment is crucial in these situations, so employers should provide employees with the gear to ensure they avoid dangerous exposure.
Crashes and collisions
Employees who drive motor vehicles or work around them are at risk of being injured in a collision or crash. For instance, a forklift could run over someone who works on the ground in a warehouse.
Repetitive strain injury
RSI is another common workplace injury that affects employers, even if some companies don’t consider it a serious issue. It doesn’t pose risks only for those using keyboards as part of their job – everything that implies repetitive motion of the joints can lead to this type of injury.
Sometimes, the effects can be severe, so employers should encourage workers to take breaks.
Tech advancements for workplace safety
Different hazards in the workplace pose several risks to employees’ health and safety. Therefore, employers must do their best to reduce accidents and maintain a level of increased productivity at their company. Fortunately, there are different tech advancements available that can be used to this end.
Several organisations have been using wearable tech for a while to supplement safety initiatives. Shirts are among the best wearable tech devices – employers can measure workers’ biological data to determine how stressed they are when performing a particular task.
This efficient tool provides managers with helpful information they can use to adjust workers’ daily tasks. That way, they remove stressors, ensuring employees don’t feel pressured and overwhelmed. Wrist monitors are another effective wearable tech. It allows employees to gather information about workers’ traits and identify their ergonomic risks.
Drones and robotics
Throughout time, robots have made jobs in industrial and manufacturing setups a lot easier. Now, they are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. However, their contribution to worker safety is relatively new. Drones are also very effective, as employers use them to assess outdoor sites with a higher risk of injuries and fatalities. The two of them are excellent tools that can make a significant difference in the workplace.
Every employer attempts to reduce overhead costs. However, they often fail to consider the cost of lost productivity and worker’s compensation for an injured employee. As Personal Injury Claims Care experts state, employers are responsible for keeping workers safe from harm. If they fail to do so, it’s because they were negligent and didn’t prioritise their employees’ well-being. Therefore, companies should take safety seriously and avoid getting sued for personal injury.
Artificial Intelligence has improved continuously throughout the years, and one of its best uses is reducing workplace injuries. Developers created this software to collect observation data from the site of the job. The goal is to build a profile for a department or task according to this information. Moreover, they can use it to identify risks and reduce them so that workers don’t get harmed.
AI technology is still evolving, but it’s a promising start for reducing workplace injuries. Moreover, AI can also be used to develop an efficient scheduling setup to prevent workers’ fatigue.
Companies should consider creating an ergonomic workplace, as many workers complain about prolonged sitting. And that is understandable since prolonged sitting can affect workers’ health by decreasing proper blood circulation and impairing digestion.
Employers can hire a trained ergonomist who can assess employees’ workstations and determine what requires improvement. Companies should invest in desk chairs and desktops that promote good posture. Moreover, they should also shift to ergonomic keyboards, as they can match employees’ wrists. Besides providing these tools, companies should also give educational support to employers so that they can assess their health on their own.
This technology sounds sophisticated and futuristic but is currently being studied as an effective tool for PPE (personal protective equipment). It can particularly benefit employees working in construction sites or warehouses where pulling, pushing, and constant lifting are regular duties.
Employers should consider implementing this technology to prevent overexertion injuries at their company. Exoskeleton technology increases human strength and helps workers avoid injuries like sprains and strains.
The bottom line
Workplace injuries don’t only hurt employees but also your business. Therefore, it’s imperative to assess potential hazards and find ways to reduce them and keep workers as safe as possible. Technology has evolved significantly in the last few years, making everyone’s life easier in several ways. And it’s here to change workplaces, too, if one takes advantage of it.