It goes without saying all businesses want to avoid injuries in the workplace. Firstly, because of the impact on employees’ well-being and secondly because of the massive financial costs involved through absences at work. That can be especially significant for small business owners and makes taking the proper precautions for health and safety so important.
According to the latest statistics provided by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) there were 650,208 injuries sustained within the workplace during 2018/2019 as reported by employers to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). 443,000 of those had up to 7 days off work whilst 138,000 had even longer than that, so it’s easy to imagine the financial impact that can have.
There are so many different industries where these injuries have been reported but there are themes and most common injury and accident types. For example, overwhelmingly, slips, trips or falls on the same level accounted for almost a third of all non-fatal injuries.
Even the best prepared businesses are susceptible to accidents at work and we’ve put together a list of five of the most common injuries and accidents in the workplace.
Everyone reading this will probably know someone who has sustained a muscle strain via work. You know how the story goes, there’s something heavy that needs to be moved and someone puts their back out or tweaks their neck in the process. The most frustrating part of these kinds of injuries is they are so easily avoidable. Lifting with the correct techniques can make so much difference and it all it takes is some basic training to know how do so properly.
One of the biggest sources of compensation pay-outs continues to be when employees are exposed to loud noise and suffer varying levels of deafness. It’s in employers’ interests to equip their workforce with suitable ear protection so this doesn’t happen.
Slips, trips and falls
Regardless of the industry, whether it’s working in a bakery, retail outlet, kitchen or warehouse, there are going to be situations where employees can potentially suffer an injury from slipping on a wet surface, tripping on a wire or falling over. And another risk worth considering is for those working at height, on ladders or scaffolding. Again, these can all be minimised by taking the correct measures for health and safety.
Exposure to toxic fumes
Many people don’t, and couldn’t, imagine working in an environment with dangerous chemicals but for those who do, the risks are very real. There are so many potentially serious things that could happen and wearing the appropriate protective clothing is imperative to protect eyes and skin, which is why it’s important for employers to make sure they are always provided and to certified standards.
Repetitive strain injury
Something more often associated with desk jobs, repetitive strain injury can also happen in many other industries too. Think of those who have to climb stairs or ladders as part of their job. The strain on joints through repetitive motion can be harsh so precautions must be taken. Ways that employers can prevent such RSI from happening is to make sure there are proper breaks whilst also ensuring correct equipment is being supplied to ease the pressure.
We know there will always be accidents and injuries sustained in the workplace but, as we’ve noted above, there are multiple things that can be done by employers to make sure risks are minimised. The correct training, the right equipment and regular risk assessments are all going to help to reduce injuries and accidents.
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