Fri, 15 Feb 2019 09:03
The UK's Health and Safety Executive regularly releases statistics on the most common workplace injuries.
What can they tell us about non-fatal injuries at work – and how to prevent them?
Firstly, the most common types of non-fatal workplace accidents are:
- Slip, trip or fall on the same level – 31%
- Handling, lifting or carrying – 21%
- Struck by moving object – 10%
- Falls from height – 8%
- Act of violence – 7%
How to reduce slips, trips and falls
These kinds of accidents are often caused by wet or oily surfaces, cluttered workspaces, loose rugs or wires, poor lighting, uneven surfaces or inadequate footwear.
Many accidents can be prevented by maintaining surfaces, keeping workspaces tidy and ensuring that colleagues wear appropriate footwear. So this is partly about cleanliness and proper maintenance, but it's also about educating colleagues so they understand the importance of relatively minor details like closing drawers, keeping wires tidy and wearing suitable shoes.
How to reduce handling and lifting injuries
Many lifting and handling injuries can be prevented, either by improving lifting technique or by providing supports so that colleagues never attempt to lift heavy loads alone. This might mean asking a peer to help, or using lifting equipment to reduce the burden.
Education is also key. Colleagues need to understand how to lift items safely, and when to seek help.
How to prevent injuries from moving objects
These injuries are often caused by falling or flying objects, such as materials falling from shelves or debris flying out of machinery.
To prevent struck-by injuries, shelves and high loads should be properly secured, and machinery should have safety guards in place to limit the chances of material escaping. Hand tools and knives should be well maintained so that the user does not have to rely on excessive force to conduct the task.
Risk assessments should be regularly reviewed. Any new processes, tools or workspaces should be assessed separately, and all colleagues should be made aware of the risks associated with their work.
How to prevent falls from height
The Health and Safety Executive recommends:
- Avoiding working at height when possible
- Reduce risks by using the appropriate equipment
- Minimise the height involved and the potential consequences of a fall.
Workers should aim to complete the majority of work at ground level, if possible, and ensure that access equipment is strong and stable.
For your business, this means equipping workers with suitable equipment, monitoring the condition of access and safety equipment, and educating people about the risks of working at height.
How to prevent acts of violence
While most of us expect to be able to do our jobs without being the victim of aggression, there are some careers that unfortunately expose people to the threat of violence – usually from members of the public. This includes workers in hospitality, medical staff and public transport employees.
When workers are exposed to the risk of violence, employers have a duty to create a framework for dealing with violence and ensuring employees understand how to respond to and report incidents.
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