Workplaces are Taking New Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries
Many workplaces are taking a new and different approach to prevent injuries on the job, especially among older workers from the Baby Boomer generation. Some companies are providing stretching and workout routines, while others are redesigning work areas. Their hope is to keep the older workers in good enough shape to prevent early retirement. These companies recognize that it takes several years to develop the skills for many jobs and that they cannot afford to lose the older workers with these skills.
The steps to prevent injuries are often very simple. For example, Vulcan Materials Co., a producer of crushed rocks, redesigned the workspaces used by a number of employees. The heavy, steel chutes used for wet concrete were replaced with a lighter composite material. This minor change reduced the weight employees had to battle with from forty-eight pounds to twenty-seven pounds. The company also moved water tanks from the top of their delivery trucks to the side for easier access.
One Vulcan employee says these changes have made a huge difference, as he is no longer cramped and stiff at the end of the day. At fifty-two years old, he also says he should now be able to easily work until age sixty-five.
Steps taken by other employers to make physical work easier on their employees and keep them fit include:
- Restructuring work areas to minimize kneeling or twisting that could harm muscles and joints;
- Implementing stretching programs for employees before they start their shifts;
- Providing trainers to ice down employee inflammations between shifts; and
- Teaching employees safer ways to perform physical tasks or lift heavy objects.
Many non-physical jobs can also cause strain on the body. Surgeons are required to turn and twist their bodies into awkward positions while performing surgeries. This causes strain on the neck and back. To help improve working conditions, a study is now underway at the University of Michigan’s Center for Ergonomics to look into ways to put less strain on the surgeons.
Regardless of the physical nature of one’s job, companies are beginning to recognize the importance of taking steps to prevent worker injuries. While workplace injuries still can and do occur, these developments should come as a welcome surprise to workers, who can now feel more confident about their safety and longevity on the job.
Even though a number of employers are taking steps to improve workplace safety, that is not the case with all workplaces. If you are injured in a construction site accident or after a warehouse fall, contact a California injury attorney in your area to learn how you can recover damages for your injuries.