At any workplace, time is money. That’s why the state of Massachusetts is looking to reduce absenteeism on the job by investigating it at the source. For example, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) defines guidelines for reasonable accommodation in workplaces.
However, do these measures tackle the main source of absenteeism, which is stress, and the ripple effect that occupational stress has in terms of preventable accidents and workplace injuries?
The cost of workplace injuries in Massachusetts
In 2021, reported workplace injuries increased by more than 6% over the previous year. Each incident lowers productivity and increases the cost of doing business by millions of dollars in Massachusetts alone. Although the bulk of cases involve construction-related accidents, that industry is hardly an outlier.
Many workplace injuries are entirely avoidable. In fact, accident prevention should be a top priority at companies of all sizes and industries.
Top workplace injuries and how they can be prevented
Among the top 13 workplace injuries, three of the most common are due to people not paying attention to what’s happening around them. For example, slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents, and workers being injured after bumping into a stationary object are mainly due to inattention. One big culprit is looking at a phone screen.
These can be prevented by:
• Setting policies regarding phone use while driving, walking, or using machinery
• Maintaining clutter-free workspaces
• Posting notices in areas where such incidents are likely to occur
That last point is also a prevention measure in the group of workplace injuries involving being hit by falling objects, accidental electrocutions, and exposure to hazardous materials.
Workers are often injured because they are overworked or over-exert themselves on the job. For example, moving or lifting heavy objects. These types of injuries can be avoided thorough staff training and by having proper equipment available for such tasks.
Accidents due to inattention because of stress or exhaustion can be prevented by prioritizing worker well-being. Keep in touch with workers throughout the day and provide frequent breaks when staff are engaged in strenuous or repetitive tasks.