Though some may see this as a nuisance, the purpose of such compliance is to reduce the fatalities and injuries that are likely to occur in a work environment. These risks are substantially higher for individuals working in a factory or manufacturing setting.
Not as obvious of a risk are ergonomic issues that may affect workers based out of corporate America. Hundreds of work related injuries occur each year to people simply sitting at their computer or desk. Among these include carpal tunnel of the wrist and fingers, which often occur when workers work in conditions that are not "ergonomically" correct. Many repetitive use injuries and even back pain injuries can be prevented through education. Employers should take measures to ensure that an office worker has a chair that appropriately supports their back, and a computer that is positioned in such a manner as to best prevent injury from repetitive motions. Repetitive motion injuries can occur even in along an assembly line where workers are performing the same task over and over again. Such injuries can be minimized however, if workers take frequent breaks and perform certain exercises to help the fingers and hands remain limber and mobile during the course of the day. The employer is also obligated to continually educate their staff about the risks of such injuries. An ounce of prevention here goes an extremely long way, as worker compensation injuries are often chronic and very costly, both for the employer and for the employee.
Another occupational area that presents an increased risk includes agricultural occupations such as farming and ranching (Miller, 150). These industries actually report the highest fatality ratings of any other, thus making agriculture one of the most dangerous areas to work in (Miller, 150). A majority of the injuries that occur in this environment, if not fatal are certainly disabling. Part of the danger lies in the use of "highly mechanized kinds of machinery" (Miller, 150) that are often cumbersome and involve large, sharp moving parts. Tractors have been cited as responsible for a large majority of injuries that occur within this type of environment (Miller, 150). This often happens when the vehicle turns over. A preventive measure in this instance would involve requiring farmers and worker to always use seat belts when operating any type of moving equipment, including tractors. There are also "rollover protective structures" that can be used to minimize the incidence of turnovers during operation (Miller, 150).
Another potential cause for injury in the workplace, especially in this environment is fatigue. Fatigue causes people to be less aware of their environment and surroundings. Response times under duress are often much slower, and accidents much more likely to occur. Driver operators should always be alert and well rested before operating any type of machinery or farm equipment. The same is true of truck drivers. Often required to put in long hours on the road, far too many accidents occur when truck drivers have used artificial methods to stay awake for long periods of time, thus causing accidents. The best prevention is rest.
Another candidate for unintentional injury in an agricultural setting is the use of pesticides. Workers might unintentionally harm themselves if they are not alert and focused when using such products that can be inhaled or spilled on clothing and skin producing injury or illness.
MOTOR VEHICLES AND NATURAL DISASTERS
One of the most well-known sources of injury occurs outside of the home, but not necessarily in the workplace. Motor vehicle injuries are among the most commonly reported and most severe. As mentioned previous, one cause of motor vehicle injury is fatigue. Fatigue does not simply affect driver operators however, who drive for a living. Any ordinary individual who didn't catch enough sleep the night before poses a risk to other drivers when they get into their vehicle. Obviously, it would not be logical to require all drivers to be well rested before they get into a vehicle. The majority of Americans walk around in a sleep deprived state probably about 80% of the time. There are several measures however, an individual can take to reduce the likelihood of injury in a vehicle.
The number one measure is using a safety belt. Far more injuries are prevented than caused by improper use of the safety belt. Children should be riding in age appropriate car seats until they are large enough to fit in the seat by themselves. Far too often a mini van has traveled alongside another consumer with three kids tilling about the back of the van not belted in! Motor vehicle injuries can be preventable, but only if people take practical precautions.
Other than buckling up, a fatigued driver might do well to open a window and inhale some fresh air. Sing along with the radio. Sip a cool beverage, but be careful to pay attention to the road! Many injuries occur from something as simple as a driver spilling hot coffee or some other drink in their lap and getting distracted. By the time you have spilled the drink it is too late to worry about a wet lap, and a driver is better of pulling off to the side of the road then attempting to mop up a mess while driving. Other potential causes for motor vehicle accidents include changing radio stations, which may take a drivers attention off the road for a moment too long. Unremarkably, another cause for injury/accidents among motorists is cell phone usage. No one should be talking on the telephone while attempting to drive! If it is absolutely necessary for a consumer to speak on a phone, they should be using a handless set so there hands are free to drive the car.
Drunk drivers are accountable for more than half of all motor vehicle accidents (Miller, 182). While there is little you one can do to protect themselves from drunk drivers, anyone can avoid driving while drinking. Using a seat belt in this instance is perhaps the best measure one can take to protect themselves.
Another situation that poses risk for a potential consumer is a natural disaster situation. Much like the drunk driver, natural disasters often cannot be prevented. The best protection an individual has is knowledge and education. If for example, consumers live in a flood plain, they should invest in flood insurance and be aware of safety measures such as sand bagging around their home, they can take to prevent excessive damage and the potential for injury. People living in an area where earthquakes occur know that they are unpredictable; thus they should establish an emergency evacuation and action plan to ensure the safety of themselves and their families should an incident arise. By and large earthquakes and tornadoes cannot be predicted exactly either.
Establishment of an emergency evacuation plan might prevent excessive injury during any type of natural disaster. The plan should include safe places to go within the home in the event of a natural disaster, or a safe way out of the home in the event a disaster occurs. A fire escape plan is a smart selection for any home, as fire is just as unpredictable as any natural disaster. Individuals should decide on a safe meeting place should they be separated during a natural disaster as well. There are certain areas of the home that might be safer than others during an earthquake or tornado. In the event of a tornado for example, family members should gather in a basement if this is an option for them. Staying away from windows will prevent harm that might arise from broken glass and flying objects.
Safety often goes hand in hand with prevention. The majority of injuries and illnesses that occur unintentionally each year are best minimized through education. Consumers must be aware of the mechanisms available to them to protect themselves from harm at home, in the workplace…