According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are 1.2 million people in the UK suffering from a work-related illness and 142 people were killed at work between 2014-15. Even in a society with a rising percentage of sedentary roles, work-related accidents, injuries and disorders are incredibly common. This doesn’t just affect the victims’ health, which itself is extremely important, but also the productivity of businesses, regional prosperity and the strain on the NHS.

With 28.2 million working days lost between 2013-14 due to work-related illness and workplace injury, the total cost was a staggering £14.2 billion to the UK economy. Can your company afford to be part of this worrying scenario? Below are some of our tips on how to prevent the four most common types of workplace accident.

 

Trips and falls

“If you’ve been the victim of a trip or fall in the last twelve months blah blah blah.” We’ve all heard the sales patter that no win no fee solicitors use to tempt Joe Public to make a claim, and you’d be amazed how many people go for it. If one of your employees or a visitor to your premises trips or falls, your finance department could be hit just as hard the ground.

Solution: Ensure that ladders and any equipment for working at height are in perfect working order. Upgrade slippery surfaces with anti-slip coatings where possible and always put out caution signs when wet. Remove tripping hazards like loose cables, frayed carpets and protruding objects.

 

Struck by objects

This one doesn’t get mentioned as much, but many accidents result from objects great and small falling onto people due to poor stacking. From a graze to far more serious situations, this type of injury is high up on the warning list.

Solution: All materials should be properly stacked within set limits, such as weight, height or quantity. Workers in industrial environments should wear hardhats and other safety clothing like goggles and boots. When large machinery and vehicles are in use, staff should be trained in all relevant safety procedures and wear high visibility clothing to optimise safety.

 

Bodily reaction injuries

You may not even think about this one, yet many employees suffer due to bodily reaction injuries. These are injuries that result from free bodily motion, including bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, and slipping or tripping without falling. The strain of this type of movement can result in aches, twinges and sprains.

Solution: The workplace itself should be designed to eliminate the risk of bodily reaction, from the general layout to the furniture itself (comfort and space are essential). Employees should apply safe working practices to even the most mundane situations, as well as react to their bodies’ messages, such as stretching legs when stiffness begins to set in.

 

Mental overexertion

Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress can be as devastating to an individual’s life as a physical ailment, so you should never overlook the telltale signs of overexerted staff.

Solution: This is the hardest one to prevent, as mental health is entirely individual and subjective. However, through techniques such as clear two-way communication, an open-door policy, empathy, fairness, comprehensive training, reasonable quotas and morale-boosting activities (staff nights out, cake days, Casual Friday, charity events), you’ll be doing everything you can to keep your workers happy and healthy.

 

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To help increase the levels of health and safety in your workplace, take a look at our Flooring & Matting and Ladders & Steps.

 

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