Tennessee is experiencing a frightening spike in fatal workplace accidents. Since January, there have been more than 22 workplace deaths, 10 of which occurred in August alone. That said, there are eight major causes of workplace accidents in Tennessee identified by the National Forklift Exchange, including:
- Lifting—Lifting objects that are too heavy could lead to strains, sprains and tears in the muscle. It is important for employers to ensure workers know to ask for help with excessively heavy objects.
- Fatigue—Failing to take needed a break during work can lead to a loss of focus and consequently, workplace accidents, especially when physical labor is involved. Fatigue from lack of sleep can also cause a variety of health issues, such as heart conditions and obesity.
- Dehydration—Failure to hydrate is a serious health risk and is surprisingly easy to do, especially in hot environments. Employers must provide water and make sure workers have enough breaks throughout the day.
- Insufficient lighting—Poor lighting can result in slip and fall accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires proper lighting in all workplaces, particularly in warehouses, parking garages and offices.
- Hazardous materials—Improperly handling of hazardous materials or a lack of protective gear can cause illnesses and is on OSHA’s list of top types of violations.
- Workplace violence—Unfortunately, workplace violence is a problem across all industries. Approximately 550 people die every year in acts of workplace violence. OSHA has published guidelines for preventing violence in certain settings.
- Slip and falls—Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries. Often, these are caused by slippery floor and corridors with high-foot traffic. Improper footwear, or weather and rushing can also contribute.
- Stress—Stress can have a horrible physical and mental impact. It can also affect focus and job performance. Employers can provide assistance programs, allow employees to participate in designing their jobs and offer stress-reduction opportunities, including yoga or daily walks.
If an employer does not address these workplace hazards and a worker sustains an injury as a result, he or she has a right to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits often cover medical costs and lost wages, giving an injured worker the time and compensation they need to recover.
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville workers’ compensation lawyer that fights for those injured in workplace accidents.
“You shall eat the fruit of labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” iPsalm 128:2