What Are the Most Common Causes of Workplace Accidents?

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There were 693,702 non-fatal injuries in the workplace around the UK last year; 621,000 of which were self-reported, whilst the others were reported by the employer.

A further 144 accidents reported resulted in the death of an employee.

Amongst the causes, five stood out as being the most common and, potentially, the most lethal for workers:

  1. Hit by a moving object

This hazard cropped up twice, as the third biggest workplace killer last year and the third biggest cause of injuries.

A moving object is not referring to a vehicle, as this is listed separately, so it is likely to include risks such as falling objects, a cut from a knife and runaway trolleys.

  1. Fall from height

26% of workplace deaths last year were caused by falling from a height and an overwhelming number of these falls were from ladders.

This is more than likely due to slipping on a rung, ladder being set up improperly or being knocked over.

These kinds of accidents not only have a major effect on the victim and their families but also employers, contractors and the community will also have to pay a high price due to the criminal liability, employees’ compensation, civil claims, delays in works, and the negative impact on staff morale and corporate image.

  1. Manual Handling

As suspected, manual handling was the biggest cause of workplace injuries with over 120,000 people having reported an injury from carrying, lifting or handling items at work.

It can be easy to assume you know how to lift a box correctly, or just to underestimate the weight of an item, which could lead to back injuries, strains or worse.

  1. Struck by moving vehicle

Differing slightly from being hit by a moving object, this is clearly identifying the object as being a vehicle.
This could be anything from pallet trucks in a factory to vans at a warehouse, it is therefore the responsibility of both parties (the one controlling the vehicle and the person at risk of being hit) to conduct themselves correctly.

  1. Slips and trips

The most commonly occurring non-fatal accident in every workplace is through a slip, trip or fall as it can occur anywhere at any time. Whether it’s a trip on the stairs, or a slip on some spilt milk, this kind of accident is usually the result of clumsiness or incompetence and is not always the fault of the employer.

How can I prevent these workplace accidents from taking place?

The most important thing you can do for your business is conduct a thorough risk assessment of the premises before work is carried out to ensure that any hazards are identified and managed before they cause an accident.

But even once a risk assessment has been successfully completed, accidents can still happen and it’s important that you do what you can to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities by implementing a series of other health and safety precautions.

When an accident does occur, it should be treated very seriously and promptly as the HSE will more than likely be in touch immediately. Therefore, we advise that you record all accidents in an accident book immediately after they have taken place so that you have clear documentation of the incident.

You should then carry out the necessary procedures to prevent this incident from occurring again. I.e. if someone trips over an exposed wire, then remove the wire or place it somewhere out of harm’s way.

You should also regularly review your risk assessment so that it is up to date with any changes to legislation or to your business.

As your staff numbers increase, you purchase new machines or your premises undergoes changes, this will have a direct effect on certain health and safety policies which means that you need to constantly adjust your risk assessment.

In some cases, the safety of employees relies heavily on having the correct PPE in place such as helmets, gloves or dust masks.
The number of injuries that could be avoided if employees were wearing the appropriate PPE was stated as over 80% by the HSE.

It’s also your duty to ensure that your employees are competent to carry out any tasks before doing so and this could mean comprehensive training.

Online training courses for COSHH, Asbestos Awareness, First Aid and Electrical Safety are all available here at affordable rates and without any interference to working hours.

If you need support conducting or writing up your risk assessment, advice on reducing accidents in the workplace or a review of your health and safety policy, then call us now on 0845 2626 260 to book a free consultation.

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