June is National Safety Month: Preventing Hawaii Workplace Injuries
June is National Safety Month, a time set aside by the National Safety Council (NSC) to raise awareness about injury prevention in every aspect of our lives, especially at work. Throughout the month, the council will spotlight certain safety threats and what you can do to protect yourself on the job.
Common Causes of Hawaii Workplace Injuries
For 2019, the council is highlighting:
Every workplace has potential hazards. Some are more obvious than others.
For example, construction workers are at great risk for injury simply due to the nature of the job. Earlier this year, a contract worker for the Hawaii Department of Transportation was injured while operating a forklift during construction on the Pali Highway.
But working in a quiet office can also lead to injury, whether it is from obstacles left in the hallway or improper maintenance that leads to a fire.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of workplace injuries. And sadly, failure to provide adequate fall protection is the most frequent safety violation among employers, according to data from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Any number of dangerous working conditions could lead to a serious fall, such as spilled liquids, lack of safety equipment or improper training on the jobsite. Injuries from falls can range from minor to catastrophic, and sometimes death.
People underestimate the importance of self-care in maintaining a healthy workplace. A lack of sleep can affect a worker’s judgment, attention, awareness and accuracy — qualities that are essential not only for productivity, but also for injury prevention.
According to the NSC, a person who sleeps six hours per night for two weeks performs similarly to someone who has gone a full night without sleep.
Working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (no matter whether they are prescription, over the counter, or illegal) can be dangerous, especially for those who operate machinery or work in the transportation industry. For that reason, you should always make sure that you know how a medication will affect you before going to work.
How to Improve Workplace Safety
Along with the National Safety Council, Recovery Law Center encourages workers to train themselves to spot potential dangers and report them to their employers.
Here are some things that you can do:
- Know your workplace safety protocols and always follow them.
- Speak up if you notice an unsafe condition or a worker who is not following safety rules
- Look for hidden hazards (e.g., inadequate lighting, loose handrails, exposed wiring, etc.).
- Limit distractions (e.g., don’t text while walking through the worksite).
- Participate in all safety drills.
What to Do if You Are Injured
While you should take all measures to protect yourself at work, it is not your job to ensure that your workplace is safe. Hawaii employers are required to keep their workplaces free of all foreseeable hazards. If an accident happens, most workers have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical bills and replace lost income.
However, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy. If you have suffered a work injury, the Honolulu legal team at Recovery Law Center can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Your health and happiness are of utmost importance to us, and we will stand by you until you are fairly compensated for your losses.
Call or contact us today to learn how we can help.
Safety and Health: “OSHA’s ‘Top 10’ most-cited violations.”