Most Common Workplace Accidents

When you go to work, you should be able to expect your employer to provide you with a safe working environment. Where dangers are present, these risks should be minimised, or safe practices should be in place to help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries from occurring.

Most businesses do take health and safety seriously, as they understand the potential consequences. Workplace health and safety failures can not only result in injuries to employees, clients and visitors, but they can also result in possible legal and financial penalties.

When a business fails to meet the duty of care they owe to their employees, they can be held liable for any subsequent accidents caused by their failings. An employee injured in this manner has the legal right to make a personal injury claim against their employer. If successful, they would be awarded compensation for their injuries, as well as any financial losses they have experienced, such as loss of wages for example.

With that in mind, being proactive in looking at possible workplace dangers is an essential process that all businesses and employers should undertake. By carrying out regular risk assessments, businesses can eliminate potential risks where possible, and take steps to minimise risks that cannot be avoided. This could be through the use of personal protective equipment, providing training or implementing good housekeeping to keep a tidy working environment.

Common workplace accidents

As you would expect, there are a huge variety of different accidents that can occur at work. Some workplaces and industries will be inherently more dangerous than others. Factories, building sites and warehouses would in most cases pose more risks of injury than an office or shop would for example.

But it is important to remember that all businesses will have the potential for worker accidents, particularly if the correct health and safety procedures are not observed.

Here we will look at some of the most common causes of accidents at work.

Slips and trips

Slips and trips at work are one of the most common types of accidents that result in personal injury. These accidents can happen in any workplace and can be caused by trailing cables, spillages, blocked walkways, damaged floor coverings, wet floors from cleaning and many other causes.

The injuries sustained from slips and trips can range from sprains, cuts and bruises through to broken bones and serious head injuries. Whiplash is also a common injury that is sustained in these type of falls, as the sudden and unexpected movement causes the neck to whip backwards and forwards.

Falls from height

Many job roles will involve some form of working from height. This could include working on scaffolding on a building site or using a ladder to reach items in a warehouse. Whenever a worker is required to carry out work at height, strict health and safety procedures must be observed.

Falls from height can cause significant injuries that can be life-changing. In the most serious cases, these falls can be fatal, which can obviously have a devastating impact on the workers family and friends. It also puts the business in question at risk of legal ramifications from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in addition to being liable for personal injury compensation.

Lifting injuries

Injuries caused by lifting and manual handling tasks are commonplace. Often these are minor strains and twinges that recover completely within a few days. But sometimes the injuries caused by heavy lifting and carrying items can result in significant long-term pain.

Injuries to the back, neck, shoulders and arms are the most common types caused by manual handling. These are injuries that in most cases can be avoided by adopting the correct protocol for lifting items safely. This is why employers are required to provide employees who are engaged in such activities with sufficient training.

Repetitive strain injuries

Although not technically an accident, injuries caused by repetitive tasks and movements can be a significant problem for many businesses. There are many different types of repetitive strain injuries, but the most common ones are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, vibration white finger and bursitis.

To help prevent workers from suffering from RSI, businesses should conduct risk assessments of workstations and the tasks being performed. Where the risk of repetitive injuries is highlighted, steps should be taken to minimise the chance of injury. This could include alternating repetitive tasks, providing regular breaks from work and making use of personal protective equipment.

Health and safety should be a careful consideration for all employers. Providing a safe environment for employees to go about their work will not only help to prevent accidents from occurring, but it will also help to ensure businesses meet their legal obligations. Failing to do this may result in the risk of having to pay personal injury compensation for accidents caused by employer negligence, which can be financially crippling for many businesses.

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