5 reasons accidents occur — and how to prevent them.

  • career advice
  • July 19, 2018

When safety protocols break down, accidents happen. And often, the difference between a minor injury and a life-threatening catastrophe can be slight. But don't worry — Randstad has your back. Read on to learn why accidents occur in manufacturing and logistics environments — and pick up some safety tips so you can be prepared to avoid them.

distraction

Distraction is one of the leading cause of workplace accidents today — and when you’re focused on getting important work done, two major distractions are idle chit-chat between employees, and the use of smartphones. The good news is that savvy employers generally have guidelines and policies in place governing both conversation and the use of smartphones on the job. Check with your supervisor, and bear in mind that these guidelines are in place for a good reason — to help keep you safe!

rushing

Time is an important metric for manufacturers and logistic providers. It's one of the ways they measure the efficiency of operations, and some companies even provide financial rewards for employees when time-related goals are hit. But, while you (understandably) want to get work done quickly, rushing can have negative consequences. Consider how the following could create unsafe working conditions.

  • Hurrying to get a task completed, you may opt to use the wrong tool in the interest of time. 
  • Haste often leads you to act impulsively, rather than thinking rationally. 
  • Teamwork is vital to many aspects of operations — and if you're rushing through things with a partner, you're far more likely to put one another in danger. (Plus, there's evidence to suggest that rushing actually spreads anxiety and resentment among co-workers.)

Consider these workplace safety tips: focus on the work in front of you, take your time to ensure you’re completing it safely and correctly and never be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The importance of safety cannot be stressed too much!

shortcuts

Sure, shortcuts might seem like simply more efficient ways of tackling daily responsibilities. But safety protocols are there for reasons, and eliminating or altering even a single step can easily lead to disaster. Here are some familiar safety shortcuts you should be sure to avoid:

  • Lifting quickly and improperly: You need to lift with your legs, not your back. Otherwise, your risk of injury goes through the roof. Remember: slow and steady wins the race. Be sure to check out Randstad’s helpful lifting-safety infographic for other best practices. 
  • Skipping breaks: When you're in a time crunch, skipping breaks can seem like the only way to wrap up all of your tasks on time. And yet, doing so could result in things like heat stroke, dehydration and exhaustion. These will make you more accident prone and reduce the quality of your work, so that the job winds up taking twice as long to complete. 
  • Inadequate maintenance: If you see something, say something. Equipment maintenance is an ongoing activity, and so it needs to be everyone's responsibility — after all, maintenance impacts everyone. And if you do spot issues with equipment, report them immediately to your supervisor. Not saying anything puts everyone in danger.

lack of training

Adequate training goes way beyond simple, one-and-done onboarding. Instead, training (including safety training) is one of the ways that employers demonstrate their commitment not only to their employees' safety, but also to their skill development and professional growth. Has your role changed over time? Speak up for safety! Talk to your supervisor and make sure you're up to date on the latest safety best practices. Also, are you sure that you’re using equipment, and carrying out all of your day-to-day tasks, properly? It’s an important question — after all, at least one insurance firm has found that on-the-job injuries are often linked to workers not knowing how to perform tasks correctly. Safe work environments depend on proper training.

avoid overexertion and strain

Overexertion — that is, putting too much strain or pressure on yourself — consistently ranks among the leading causes of occupational injuries or illnesses within manufacturing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So strain of any kind is a sure sign that danger may be on the line. Here are three simple ways to avoid strain and overexertion:

  • Only physically lift what you feel comfortable carrying. 
  • Don't volunteer for an assignment that has requirements beyond your physical capabilities. 
  • If you suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), like sprains or strains related to overexertion, make sure that your supervisor and everyone on your team is aware of it, as it can increase the risk of accident in certain situations.

key takeaways

At the end of the day, on-the-job safety is everyone's responsibility. And while we can never eliminate risks completely, by being aware of these five danger areas you — and your coworkers — will be better able to identify, and even avoid, potential safety threats.