We mention it all the time, there are inherent risks in every profession. Furthermore, there are unique safety measures that need to be taken. However, today, we’re going to look at one profession in particular that comes with a unique set of risks… teaching. Teaching injuries can be brought on by a number of different circumstances. From unhealthy students, to slips and falls, a fight in the classroom, and even violent school invasions. In short, anything can happen. Therefore, you have to be prepared for what may come when you step into your classroom.
Teaching Injuries: Unexpected Classroom Accidents
Exposure to toxic materials
You might not think so, but a classroom can be quite the dangerous place. Take, for example, working in an old building. You know that your school building has been there since the ‘70s. Not to mention, you know that it has a certain smell. However, what you might not realize is that the strange smell is pointing to a bigger issue— mold. Toxic exposure in the classroom is not highly common. But, it can happen from time to time in a poorly maintained building. So, if you find yourself stationed in a classroom that has you worrying, ask an administrator to hire an inspector. Don’t add ‘treating teaching injuries’ to your long list of things to get accomplished.
Acts of violence
When you sign on to become a teacher, you have to acknowledge the inherent risk that comes along with it: acts of violence. According to the CDC, nearly 24% of students reported being in a physical fight on school property one or more times during a school year. Furthermore, the risk of school shootings is present now more than ever. Students getting into fights doesn’t always lead to teaching injuries. But, you are handling a dangerous task: breaking up the fight. Furthermore, school shootings are inherently rare— although we’ve seen more of them recently than in past years. However, if that time comes, you and your students are at risk of serious injury.
As a teacher, you have many roles to fall into on a daily basis. You are an educator, mentor, role model, babysitter, therapist, nurse, security guard, and a figurehead. You have to take on mental health in your students, make sure they have the resources they need, make sure they’re learning, and also watch for signs of abuse, hunger, neglect, and the like. In short, a teacher has the responsibility of 10-30 kids on a daily basis. You are a caretaker, and an educator. That is no small feat. Therefore, among all teaching injuries, work-induced stress is the most common one out there. You often face overcrowded classrooms, underfunded materials, a lack of support on part of administrators, and frustrated kids.
Teaching is not easy
In short, there’s nothing easy about being a teacher. From the beginning of your day, to the very end— you take on a number of different roles, all of which can be extremely stressful. Teaching injuries can be physical, mental, or emotional— and each one is quite difficult to face. We commend our educators, and encourage them to take a moment here and there for themselves.
Accidents are bound to happen in the workplace. However, if there is anything we can do as managers, business owners, or shift leaders— it is to reduce those incidents. Ultimately, accident prevention begins with workplace safety, and accountability. So, what can we do encourage these things amongst our employees?
Accountability in Workplace Safety: Avoiding Injuries
Start with proper training
The most important step in inspiring accountability in your employees, is to give them the tools to do so beforehand. When you bring on new hires, make sure they are receiving proper workplace safety training. Furthermore, use it as an opportunity to refresh your current employees on what it means to be safe.
Ask for their opinion
No one knows what’s happening on the floor better than the people who spend their day-to-day lives there. So, ask for their help in deciding what safety protocols are necessary, unnecessary, and also what might be missing in terms of safety protocol. When they have a hand in implementing changes, they will feel more accountability in terms of honoring them. Every employee needs to feel valued in order to value their work. So, use your employees point of view as a means of giving them that feeling, and also as a means of bettering the workplace. By doing so, you’ll improve your employee’s accountability.
Address poor performance in a non-aggressive way
Don’t call one person out for doing something wrong, as this can hinder accountability and alienate your employees. Chances are, if one person is using poor protocol— they aren’t the only one. Use these instances of poor performance as a means of addressing the whole group. Don’t call one person out for handling boxes poorly. Instead, host a meeting where you review what is going wrong— and urge your employees to self-correct. Start here, and move forward as necessary in terms of addressing the issue.
Incentivize proper protocol and milestones
Let’s face it: we care about our employees and want them to be healthy and safe. However, we can’t deny the appeal of meeting a safety milestone. 90 days accident-free means healthy employees, and fewer costly claims. So, every 90 days without an accident— consider hosting a breakfast, a happy hour, or letting everyone head home an hourly early for the day. There are small ways to encourage accountability in your employees, and giving them something to look forward to is a great way to do that.
Being a welder is dangerous work. You’re dealing with high-heat, heavy light exposure, radiation, fumes, and melted metal. In short, being a welder comes with quite a few different risks. However, injury prevention begins with acknowledging what those injuries are. that way, you can attempt to beat them before they happen. So, what are a few common welding injuries?
Common Welding Injuries: Acknowledging Risks
As we mentioned above, you’re dealing with some pretty high-heat materials. From the torch you’re using to weld the metal, to the metal itself, flare-ups, torch lighting, and flammable materials. Every aspect of welding is dangerous, and that’s why it’s so important to use the proper gear.
Using goggles and welding hood are extremely important to protecting your eyes from debris, and also from light. A welder’s hood dims the light, and filters it to make sure your eyes are not exposed to the bright light that surrounds whatever you’re welding. Furthermore, using these pieces of equipment will help you avoid damage caused by flying items and debris that come off of what you’re welding.
Welder’s flash is an injury caused by the UV and Infrred light that comes from the welding arc. Think of UV light as a sunburn for your eyes. It’s not something you notice right away. However, with time, that light exposure will lead to scorched retinas and even cataracts.
Excessive noise in the workshop has the potential to cause hearing loss and damages. The rule of thumb is if you can’t hear the person next to you, you’re at risk for hearing-related issues. So, consider purchasing some noise filtering earplugs, or headphones. Furthermore, consider wearing earplugs, using sound barriers, and having a hearing test every now and then. While you might not think about it too often— welding injuries come in all shapes and sizes.
The first step to preventing injury, is knowing what a common injury looks like in your work field. As for welding injuries, we now know that the effects can be quite serious. From burns, to hearings loss— the important thing to remember is that there are ways to minimize danger and risk.
As employees, we know that sometimes— we’re at the whim of our employers. They need someone to cover night shift, and on occasion— you have to be that person. While you are fulfilling your duties for your employer, it’s also important to acknowledge the risks that can come along with it. A night shift, or an overnight shift, present a higher risk of injury for the employee across the board. Therefore, it’s important to understand why before you take on this responsibility.
Night Shift Risks: Understanding Evening Work Injuries
When you consider what it means to pull a night shift, or overnight shift, you realize that it means long hours, labor when you normally sleep, and staying awake for long hours. You’re taking one for the team, but that puts you at risk of sustaining an injury for a number of reasons.
Chances are, if you’re picking up a night shift — then it takes time to adjust to the hours. Normally, you’d be asleep by this time, or having dinner. But, instead, you’re operating heavy machinery, doing manual labor, or even just sitting at a desk after hours. No matter the intensity of the work, you’re putting your body into unusual conditions and expecting it to perform as if this was a normal shift. However, when your body is tired— you’re at a higher risk of sustaining an injury.
More likely to make mistakes
When you’re tired, your brain isn’t working the way that it should. Therefore, you’re more likely to make small errors that can have a big effect. Take, for example, a nurse working a night shift. She has a patient who needs 50 mg of insulin. Instead, she messes up the number and orders 500 mg. Next thing you know, the patient is in shock and at risk of dying because you made a careless mistake. You’re tired, overworked, and your mind isn’t in the ER. Therefore, your patients are at risk.
In short, your body is awake, but it does not want to be
While you have taken on the task and are working without issue, your body is on high-alert. While you are able to change patterns and take on a different schedule without a second thought, your body still needs to adjust to the differences. Instead, your body is having trouble focusing, and your fine motor skills can suffer for that. Therefore, you might make those little mistakes like we mentioned above. A night shift might be something you have to do from time to time. But, make sure you prepare ahead of time, stay hydrated, and get some food and rest where possible.
When it comes to following the rules, you probably like to think you’re a law abiding citizen. However, we all do things from time to time that fall outside those lines of what’s allowed, and what’s not. Take, for example, the basic road rules. Merging correctly, making full stops at a stop sign, legal turns… While these little things might seem harmless— breaking basic road rules from time to time can be quite dangerous for you, and the drivers around you…
Basic Road Rules & How We Break Them
Failing to Use Turn Signals
While you might be an exception to the statistics, it is a fact that most people don’t use their turn signals in the ways that they should. Turn signals are essential to following basic road rules, and making drivers aware of what you’re up to. Before switching lanes, before turning at a light, a stop sign… Any time you’re making a move on the roadway— use your turn signals. Without using them, you fail to give other drivers a heads up or warning. Therefore, they don’t have the opportunity to react in a safe manner.
Making Illegal Turns
When you’re running behind, you might begin to let some of those basic road rules fall to the wayside. Take, for example, making legal turns. Many of us think that doing so is harmless— especially if the street around you is clear. However, illegal turns are illegal for a reason. In most cases, these areas are marked for illegal turns because that area is too dangerous, or unpredictable. Due to the design of the road and environmental factors, you probably cannot see clearly enough to execute the turn safely. While it might seem like a calculated risk, accidents do happen every day.
Riding in the Left Lane
Of all basic road rules, this one falls to the wayside most often. It can be considered a courtesy to move out of the left lane when you aren’t matching the speed of surrounding cars. However, it is ultimately just the correct way to use the roadway. If you are planning to travel slower than the “normal” speed of traffic, stay to the right lane. By doing this, you allow others move by you easily and safely. In addition, you keep the left lane open for drivers to pass safely and return to other lanes.
While these are nothing more than basic road rules, they hold safe driving principles. They are in place to make the roads safer and keep traffic flowing better. Therefore, no matter how unnecessary or inconvenient it may seem, stick to following these basic road rules.