8 Most Common Workplace Injuries for Factory Workers
Did you know a worker gets injured every seven seconds in America? This is a staggering statistic that points to a need for strict safety guidelines in all workplaces.
Many of these injuries are minor and require only brief medical attention. However, injuries sustained in the industrial sector can cause long-term disability and even death.
Due to the nature of the job, a wide range of injuries are possible for factory workers employed by manufacturing facilities. These injuries could result in lost wages, high medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Let’s go over eight common injuries workers need to be aware of.
1. Repetitive Stress Injuries
Many factories require their employees to perform the same task over and over. This type of work can lead to repetitive stress injuries.
These types of injuries can occur as a result of remaining in the same position for long periods of time, using equipment that vibrates, or overusing a specific muscle group.
Using the same muscles in the same motion can cause strains. It can also cause soft tissue to start deteriorating too quickly.
Symptoms of repetitive stress injury include numbness, pain, or tingling. A worker may also start to lose strength in the affected area, making it difficult to do their job.
2. Slip and Falls
Employers have a responsibility to keep floors clean and dry to prevent slip and fall injuries. This is especially important in factories where many workers have to move around quickly.
Some factories must use oils and other liquids in the manufacturing process. When these liquids end up on the floor, workers are a risk of a number of injuries.
Depending on the severity of the fall, someone can sustain broken bones, spinal injuries, sprains, or traumatic head injuries. All these have the potential of keeping an employee out of work for an extended period of time.
Employers must ensure their factories get properly cleaned every day. They must also have a safety protocol in place for when a spill happens.
Many factory jobs demand a high level of strength and stamina. Employees often have to remain on their feet and lift heavy objects for long periods of time.
When a worker overexerts themselves, they run the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. They may also sustain back and neck injuries due to heavy lifting.
Workers can even suffer from dehydration if they don’t take regular breaks and drink water. In factories where employees must work in close proximity to hot machinery, they can get heat exhaustion. These situations are extremely dangerous, as passing out and falling may result.
This is why mandatory breaks are critical in factory settings.
4. Machine-Related Injuries
Industrial machines can be very dangerous. Workers who must operate them every day are at risk of sustaining a number of different injuries.
Many factory machines utilize automatic gears and conveyor belts. If an employee gets distracted, they could get an arm entangled in the equipment. This could lead to dislocations, fractures, or even the loss of a limb.
Machines can also cause concussions, lacerations, and burns. This is why employees must always have the proper certifications to operate certain machinery. Employers must also display warning signs around heavy equipment so workers understand the risks involved.
5. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Many products require the use of harmful materials during the manufacturing process. This puts factory workers at a huge risk of toxic exposure.
Chemical spills in factories can lead to serious burns, skin irritation, or respiratory issues. Even when employees wear safety gear, they’re still in danger if an accident occurs.
Accidents involving chemicals can cause industrial diseases. These include dermatitis, asthma, deafness, blindness, and asbestos-related issues.
Workers who get exposed to harmful materials every day are also at risk of developing long-term illnesses like cancer.
6. Falling Objects
A common reason for many industrial injuries is falling objects. This occurs when heavy items fall on their own or get dropped by an employee working on an upper level of a factory.
Because factories tend to be loud working environments, employees often can’t hear warnings from their co-workers. This means they aren’t able to brace themselves or attempt to get out of the way when an object falls.
A worker who gets struck by a falling object can sustain a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, broken bones, or lacerations. Larger objects falling from high places can easily cause fatalities.
This is why hard hats are required safety gear it most factories.
If a fire or explosion occurs at a factory, the surrounding employees can receive serious burns. If a worker sustains third-degree burns, they could end up with nerve damage. They could even lose the range of motion they once had.
The risk of burn injury goes up when flammable materials are used. This can also cause the fire to spread to other areas and injure more people.
Burns can also occur when employees must work with hot equipment such as stoves or ovens. It only takes an accidental slip-up for a serious burn injury to happen.
8. Vehicle Accidents
The use of vehicles such as forklifts is common in many factories. These make daily operation much more efficient, but increase the risk of injury.
Factory vehicle accidents involve workers getting struck or crushed when another employee fails to see them. Vehicles can also overturn and fall on workers.
Employers must ensure every worker who operates a forklift or other vehicle has the proper certification and safety training. There should also be adequate warning signs in areas where these vehicles operate.
Protecting the Rights of Injured Factory Workers
When injuries occur as a result of negligence on the part of the factory owner or manager, victims have a right to seek compensation. It’s important factory workers hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal process on their behalf.