Most workplace injuries, even when we know we’re doing something hazardous, come as a complete surprise. One moment, we’re doing something we’ve done a million times, and the next, we’re on the floor, stunned by pain and the functional failure of our own body.
According to Safety Partners. Ltd., shortcuts, overconfidence, poor housekeeping, starting a job without complete information, mental distraction, lack of preparation, and neglecting safety procedures are the seven leading causes of workplace accidents. They claim that eight out of ten accidents are the fault of the person in the accident.
Ultimately, that means workers who have accidents often have them because they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing, or aren’t doing something they should be doing. Which is to say, they may not be practicing mindfulness.
Let’s look at some of these causes of accidents and see if sharper awareness could prevent them.
“Must be able to lift 50 pounds”
We see this often in job listings. One wonders why a desk job would have this type of requirement, and there are some who would say this gives an easy out to employers who are looking for a way to get around hiring people who they don’t deem to be in reasonable physical shape, such as the overweight and elderly.
At the same time, the number one cause of workplace accidents is overexertion: bending, lifting, pulling, pushing, etc. Even the ability to lift fifty pounds isn’t going to help if it’s done incorrectly or carelessly.
Making wise choices, such as lifting correctly, asking for, or lending a hand, is not only desirable but beyond that, it can save a life; whether you can lift fifty pounds by yourself or not, your spine and shoulders will thank you.
2. Slips and trips
Slipping over or tripping on something yields two net effects: A) falling or B) catching oneself (which results in injury.) Oddly enough, falling and catching are third and fourth on the top ten causes of workplace injuries, meaning that slips and trips are just gateways to other injuries.
Again, keeping a sharp eye on surroundings, barriers and hazards could go a long way.
Falling, as previously mentioned, can be the result of a trip or a slip, but also takes into account falling off of things, such as ledges, ladders, and stairs. According to the National Safety Council, many falling accidents are preventable by using appropriate safety gear and a modicum of training and employee diligence. Those things sound like mindfulness in action.
4. Reaction accidents
Reaction accidents cause muscle injuries, body trauma, and other medical problems. As much as we don’t think this should be that big of a category, anyone who has tried to get away from an angry wasp or yanked their hand back after getting a shock knows that sometimes instinct takes over, and we may have a compelling survival mechanism in play.
5. Falling objects
Falling objects are the fifth major cause of workplace accidents. Unfortunately, falling objects usually fall on a person’s head first. Since objects don’t randomly fall, this brings us back around to our previous assertion: watch out!
When your head is clear and in the present moment, it keeps you aware of your surroundings and the consequences of your actions. So, mindfulness isn’t just a therapeutic tool; it has positive, real-life applications in accident prevention.
If you’ve always felt like a clumsy or accident-prone person, mindfulness training may be able to help you feel more aware of your surroundings, secure and confident. If you’re concerned about injuries, particularly in the Portland workplace, learning mindfulness may be a way to avoid them.
When you’re injured in a car accident, there is no reason to delay treatment due to lack of insurance or while waiting for insurance approval. Here at Northeast Portland Chiropractic, we treat car accident cases with zero out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Call 503-493-9730