First-Aid for the Common Occupational Injuries

Occupational injuries are bodily damage usually incurred by a working person related to his line of work. Depending on the nature of the work the person undergoes, he can obtain different kinds of occupational injuries. The most usual forms of injury are located in the spine, hands, head, lungs, eyes and skin.

Hazards in the workplace usually involve machines, chemicals, electricity, heat, pressure, sharp objects and height. Mishandling of heavy equipment, poor body mechanics, failure of equipment to operate or mere exposure to hazardous chemicals are common causes of injury in the workplace.

Common forms of injuries incurred in the workplace are: burns, lacerations, fractures and eye injuries. First-aid treatment for these will be discussed below.

Burns. These types of injuries are common in factories and the culinary industry where workers are exposed to extreme heat as part of the production process. To treat burns, first put the area under cool running water for several minutes. Refrain from using ice to treat burns as it could cause frostbite. A burn can be considered as a major burn if it had affected areas such as: the face, genitals or anywhere else with a large surface area. This would need emergency treatment. Minor burns, on the other hand, are manageable with a topical ointment and pain relievers. Again, don’t treat burns with butter or oil as it would trap the heat and make the burn worse.

Lacerations. These are open wounds commonly caused by sharp objects such as knives. These kinds of injury are common in the culinary industry and factory work where people make use of knives to cut food and handle tools or powered machinery with sharp blades. When handling lacerated wounds, it is important to first practice universal precautions by wearing gloves before handling the wound. Apply pressure over the open wound to minimize bleeding and promote blood clotting, which is important in wound healing and raise the area to a level above the heart. Afterwards, clean the wound with soap and water and apply antiseptic ointment to prevent infection. Tape sterile gauze in place to protect the healing wound.

Fractures. A fracture occurs when a bone breaks as a result of trauma or injury. It can cause immense pain to the patient since parts of the broken bone are hitting the muscle or even the skin, so immobilizing the affected area with the use of a splint is very important. If there are lacerations, treat it accordingly. Cold packs are used to ease the swelling and help relieve pain. Wrap a cold pack in a piece of cloth before applying to the injury.

Eye injuries. It can happen as a result of sprayed chemical coming into contact with the eyes or a sharp object directly injuring the eyes. Immediately flush the eyes with water to remove the injuring agent. Do not rub your eyes because it will just further irritate it. If a portion of an object is left on your eyes, gently remove it using a wet washcloth. Seek consultation right away and, if possible, bring with you a sample of the injuring agent so the doctor will know what measures to take.

Anything can happen in the workplace, especially if the industry has a known hazard. The best we could do is to comply with safety regulations put up by the government and the companies and practice extreme caution in our work.