With the economy showing signs of recovering, many companies have ended hiring freezes. While positive for the jobless, the influx of new workers into the corporate world often means an increase in on-the-job injuries – and increased workers’ compensation costs for employers.
Harry Shuford, chief economist for the National Council on Compensation Insurance, noted, “When the rate of hiring increases, we see some upward pressure on injury rates and frequency.”
Historically, higher injury rates occur among newer employees – often because they are more accident prone than veteran employees. Over 40 percent of work-related injuries annual come from employees on the job less than a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For some new employees it is a primarily because they are young, inexperienced and may have never worked before so they do not recognize workplace hazards. According to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employees under the age of 24 are two times more likely to be injured on the job than those over 25.
Age is not the only factor in injury rates among new employees. Some new workers simply receive less training and lack the skills of more experienced employees, thus leading to more accidents.
Tips on How to Avoid Injury in the Workplace
Whether you are new to the working world altogether or simply new to a position, it is important to take steps to minimize your risks of being injured on the job:
- Actively participate in employer-sponsored health and safety training. Canned lectures and videos may seem boring, but it is important that you try to remain engaged and understand the risks associated with your job.
- Use proper lifting techniques. In lifting heavy objects, lift with your legs, keep your stomach in tight and straighten your back as you raise the item off the ground.
- Use a ladder for high to reach places. Don’t stand on a chair to reach something from a tall filing cabinet or a top shelf.
- Maintain an ergonomic workstation. If you have a desk job, make sure you have a comfortable ergonomic chair, a proper keyboard with a wrist rest pad and an ergonomic mouse pad. These items will help with poor posture issues and can help prevent long-term damage.
- In emergency situations, remain calm. In the event of a fire, tornado or other emergency, stay calm. Know where the emergency exits and evacuation shelters are located.
You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Immediately
While you can follow safety tips to minimize work-related injuries, accidents still happen. Fortunately, eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits kick in as soon as you are hired. If you are injured on the job, contact an experienced workers’ compensation or personal injury attorney to make sure you are receiving the benefits to which you are entitled.