Injuries in the workplace are unfortunately a common occurrence and according to figures collated by the Health and Safety Executive, some 611,000 people in the UK are estimated to have sustained a non-fatal injury at work during the last 12 months.
Claims for work accident compensation often result from an accident that occurred in the workplace which could potentially have been avoided and although the rate of actual deaths equates to 0.46 deaths per 100,000 workers, this rate could be improved upon.
The top five
The same types of injury come up regularly in accident reports and the top five types of injury account for about 70% of all injuries in the workplace.
- Injuries caused by excessive lifting, pulling or some other form of overexertion account for about 25% of all injuries reported.
- Falls and trips are the second most common injury and there are two types of fall that are recorded, either at the same height or falling to another level.
- Bodily reaction to an injury sustained from bending, reaching or slipping without actually falling are next on the list of common injuries.
- Falls from a height to another level of a building account for about 10% of reported injuries.
- The last type of injury in the top five is when a worker is struck by an object such as one falling onto them.
Addressing these common issues
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have a reporting system in place called RIDDOR, which UK employers are required by law to observe.
The reporting requirements cover injuries as well as diseases and dangerous occurrences and the data they receive on workplace accidents allows the HSE to issue regular guidance on how to try and avoid the rate of accidents by observing adequate safety measures at work.
Injuries that are sustained as a result of overexertion can often be avoided or reduced with the use of good safety measures and proper equipment and instructional advice.
Trying to lift something that is too heavy is always going to open up the potential for an injury and employers need to ensure that adequate lifting equipment or devices are available if appropriate together with help and training for employees on lifting techniques.
The primary aim of every employer and employee is manage the level of risk and reduce the potential exposure to injury.
The most effective way of keeping accidents to a minimum is to carry out a regular risk assessment in the workplace in order to identify what can harm people in your workplace.
Every workplace is different in some way but by following general industry guidelines as a starting point, you should soon be able to create the initial framework of your risk assessment and then set about implementing controls and procedures that will help prevent an accident happening.
Carrying out a risk assessment is a legal requirement and the HSE ask you to record details of your assessment if you have five or more employees.
A number of common injuries are often avoidable, it just requires an awareness of the dangers and adequate training and safety procedures.