workplace injuries

4 of the most common causes of workplace injuries

Author: BLR

When catastrophe strikes, it’s human nature to look for something or someone to blame. But the reality is, close to 90 percent of all workplace injuries are caused by the worker’s own unsafe actions.  

Although injuries are physical and visceral, they’re more often rooted in something that’s much less visible—a worker’s attitude or state of mind.  Below, we’ll explore four mindsets likely to cause accidents, and what you can do to prevent them.  

1. Complacency

In an era of federal safety regulations and modern technology, no one goes to work expecting to get hurt. But it’s exactly that mentality—”it won’t happen to me”—that causes most accidents and injuries.  

Remind your employees that no job is routine, even climbing the stairs. Ask them to write down four people who are counting on them to stay safe at work and post their responses in a prominent place where they’ll see it every day. Or have them sign a “target zero” pact to do their part to prevent injuries. Download our free printable workplace safety complacency quiz and distribute to your workers to see whether they can spot the signs and symptoms.  

2. Frustration 

There are all kinds of reasons why workers get frustrated on the job, and there’s no way to account for every factor contributing to a bad day.  

But there are steps you can take to improve morale in the workplace. First, make sure employees have the tools they need to do their jobs properly. There’s nothing more frustrating than equipment that consistently fails at the most inopportune times.  

Identifying faulty equipment should be part of your auditing process, but audits don’t always have to be formal. As you make your rounds, take note of anything that isn’t working and any employee concerns. Use an action management software tool to assign tasks that require follow-up.   

3. Worker fatigue

An employee who is sleep-deprived can be just as hazardous as one under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Poor coordination, memory loss and reduced concentration can all make a worker impaired and therefore more likely to be injured.  

Employees know they don’t perform as well when they’re tired, but they often need reminders to take breaks and rotate tasks. This should be built into your schedule. Employees also need to be trained to recognize the symptoms of fatigue and know when they’re not just tired, but actually putting themselves at risk.  

4. Laziness

As the saying goes, shortcuts cut life short. We’re all prone to taking the easy way out from time to time, but that tendency can be fatal for someone working with dangerous equipment. Poor housekeeping, failure to wear personal protective equipment or bypassing established procedures are all common causes of injuries.  

This is where safety audits can be helpful. Download our free EHS compliance audit checklist to regularly evaluate your workplace’s safety practices and programs consistently. An effective safety program should account for our human nature, including multiple layers of protection so a single misstep doesn’t cost us our lives.