Last week, we asked a group of safety professionals to share with us what kind of unpreventable incidents they experienced at their workplace. We were surprised by the variety of their answers. Also, we spotted divided opinions.
Many of them agree that all incidents are preventable if they are well managed from the start. When a cause for an incident or injury is known, then there are ways to prevent it. On the other hand, many others agree that some incidents at the workplace are unexpected because of the way they happened, making them difficult to prevent.
In this blog, we identified three kinds of incidents that safety professionals never imagined could happen at their workplace.
Acts of violence and animal attacks
Some professionals have experienced incidents at their workplace related to animal attacks and insects bites. For example, a safety professional said an employee broke his back after a racoon jumped from a vehicle and scared him. Some others mentioned that acts of violence such as assault and robbery have been unexpected incidents, especially in retail.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that violence and other injuries caused by people or animals is the fourth most common cause of non-fatal workplace injuries. Stats mark that there are approximately 8 of these kinds of incidents per 10,000 full-time workers.
Damages at the workplace caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and extreme temperatures, can have a high impact on the normal operations in a business, as well as on health and safety at the workplace. When these events occur, workers are exposed to multiple hazards including physical and physiological damages.
Many professionals shared their experiences on how natural disasters have put employees at risk at their workplace. For example, a safety professional said that a tornado lifted a truck with four workers in it and bounced it up and down a few times. Others said that due to the extreme cold weather, an employee experienced a fall, leaving him a broken arm.
Crashes and collisions
Trucks, vans and automobiles crashes have been other unexpected incidents that professionals have experienced. Unfortunately, in most of the cases employees were injured having serious repercussions for the rest of their lives and in some cases lost their lives.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are one of the main causes of work-related deaths in the US. In 2017, 1299 US employees died in a work-related crash while driving or riding a motor vehicle. This last number represents the 25% of all work-related deaths.
After reviewing these experiences, we can say that there are situations that because of its nature, it could be considered unpreventable incidents. Although they are not common, the possibility of experiencing any of the incidents mentioned above exists. For this reason, we believe that companies can be better prepared on how to handle these kinds of incidents either during and after the emergency in order to reduce the employees’ exposure to potential hazards and deescalate the consequences.
Kwema helps companies to prepare to respond to any emergency by providing safety wearables to employees who are exposed to potential risks and hazards at their workplace. Kwema’s safety devices have the capability of activating an emergency protocol alerting safety supervisors or 911 and are designed to avoid adoption hurdles and training costs.
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