In the workplace, we make a lot of the same mistakes repeatedly when it comes to safety. In 1999, falls were the second-leading cause of workplace fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers struck by objects accounted for 10% of fatal work injuries in 1999, and electrocutions accounted for 5%. Here are the most common work-related dangers and how you can prevent them.


A number of workers are injured by falls from scaffolding or roofs. One of the most common falling injuries is from ladders. According to the Louisville Ladder Group LLC, 300 people die in mishaps every year involving ladders, and 175,000 others are injured.

How to prevent falls from ladders:

  • Before climbing the ladder, inspect it for damage or defects.
  • Make sure the ladder is stable and on solid footing. Also, allow another worker to hold the ladder while you are on it.
  • Ladders should only have one person on them at a time.
  • Make sure the ladder does not have any grease or other materials that could cause rungs to be slippery.
  • Be careful when climbing and take your time.
  • Make sure you have three points of contact on the ladder at all times.
  • Do not overreach when you are on a ladder.
  • Never stand at the very top of the ladder.

  • Eye Injuries

    According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 1,000 workers every day suffer serious eye injury. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that three out of five workers who suffered an eye injury wore no protection.

    How to prevent eye injuries:

  • Always wear protective eyeglasses or goggles when working around chemicals, when soldering, or when performing any work that could result in objects coming towards the face.
  • If you are in an area with an eyewash station, know where it is and how to use it.
  • If an object is caught in the eye and flushing it out does not work, touch the corner of a clean cloth to the object and lift it off the surface.
  • Never use eye drops after an eye injury.
  • Cover the affected eye if appropriate.

  • Slip and Fall

    These types of injuries are caused when workers are not paying attention to where they are going, or where floors have not been properly maintained.

    How to prevent slip-and-fall injuries:

  • Keep the workspace as clean and neat as possible. Many accidents occur from tripping in cluttered areas.
  • Clean up all spills. Some surfaces may appear clean and don’t look slippery — until it is too late and you’re looking at floor level.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Many accidents occur when workers try taking shortcuts, jumping over objects, or running through a work area.
  • If necessary, wear nonskid shoes or keep regular shoes clean and free from grease and oil.
  • Always try to maintain proper lighting. Poor lighting can prevent workers from seeing possible obstructions.

  • Lifting

    Although it is not fatal, many workers injure their backs, sometimes severely, only because they do not know how to properly lift heavy objects.

    How to prevent lifting injuries:

  • Always test the weight of an object before picking it up.
  • When lifting an object, use smooth movements. If you rush and use jerky movements, strain can be inflicted on muscles.
  • When you can straddle the load, lift with your legs. To do this, bend at the hips and knees and not with your back. Keep your back straight.
  • When you have gotten hold of the object, keep it close to your body.
  • Always pace yourself; take breaks if necessary. Too much lifting can cause strain.
  • Remember, you can always ask for help. If a load is heavy, get a coworker or find a dolly.


    A number of accidents can occur if a technician does not work properly with the electrical equipment in heaters, air conditioners, or any other machinery. Not only is there the possibility of starting a fire and causing damage, the worker also runs the risk of electrocution.

    How to prevent electrical mishaps:

  • Before working on circuits or equipment, make sure they are de-energized, locked out, and tagged.
  • Do not throw water on an electrical fire. Water is a conductor for electricity.
  • Inspect any electrical tools you may use. Do not use them if they smoke, spark, or give a slight shock when turned on. Check cords for damage, wear, etc.
  • Make sure all electrical equipment is properly grounded.
  • If you need to use extension cords, make sure they are not tied or kinked. This can cause an electrical fire.
  • Wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves and rubber-soled shoes.
  • For more information on work safety, visit these websites:

    Publication date: 03/19/2001