Equipment, Tools and Supplies Can Hurt You

Employee lies on floor covered by boxes, as if the worker had fallen, and the boxes landed on him or her.

You can be injured if work equipment or supplies fall on you, spill on you, or come in contact with you. For example, machines, forklifts, tools, boxes, conveyer belts, cleaning chemicals, and ladders can all cause injury.

Tips for Staying Safe

Tips for Young Workers:

  • Watch where you walk. Stay within the designated walk areas, if possible.
  • Keep your workspace neat. Give yourself room to work.
  • Follow all warning labels and signs on equipment and posted in the workplace.
  • Knives and box cutters can cause serious injury. One way to prevent being cut is to cut away from your body. You can use cut protection (like mesh gloves) to protect your hands.
  • Stack materials carefully so that they won’t slide or fall.
  • Know what is going on around you. Look out for people, boxes, forklifts, and other moving objects in your work area that could hit or fall on you.
  • Head protection is often needed in large storage areas to protect workers from being struck by a falling box or product that may be dislodged from an overhead storage rack.
  • Equipment can be noisy. If you must work around it, use hearing protection like earplugs, or earmuffs.
  • Tell your supervisor if you see a potential hazard or a situation that makes you uncomfortable.


  • Coming into contact with items you work around—such as equipment, forklifts, supplies, and tools—is the number one cause of injury to young workers.
  • Amputations from contact with moving parts of machines are the leading cause of permanent disability for young workers.
  • Loud music and machinery (like floor cleaning equipment or mechanical crushers) can eventually cause loss of hearing. When you’re around loud noise for days, weeks, and months, your hearing can be damaged for the rest of your life.

Find Out More

NSC: Safety tips: reducing struck-by injuriesexternal icon

NIOSH: Injuries and fatalities from contact with objects

OSHA: Ergonomics: the study of work (OSHA #3125)pdf iconexternal icon

Page last reviewed: May 21, 2018