As an employer, the last thing you want is employees getting injured on the job. An accident can happen at any time, and the consequences are not limited to bodily harm.
If one of your employees gets injured, they will have to take time off to recover. Their workload gets pushed onto the rest of your staff. You’re most likely not going to get the same level of productivity, and if this happens too often, it becomes a vicious cycle.
The added pressure on your remaining employees can result in more time off and a higher turnover. It creates a working environment where employees don’t feel safe because they don’t see proof that their wellbeing is valued which affects their morale. The low morale, in turn, affects productivity and loyalty to the company.
Furthermore, it’s the employer’s responsibility to take all legally required measures to protect the health and safety of the employees. Neglecting this responsibility results in an investigation, costly sanction and lawsuits. The injured employees are legally entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a single lawsuit can have a significant negative impact on your company’s reputation and lead to financial loss that will impede growth and possibly even drive your company into bankruptcy. You can find out more about the legal consequences of workplace accidents and injuries by visiting How-To-Claim.co.uk.
We only have to look a few decades back to see clear examples of a lack of concern over workers’ safety. Fortunately, in the UK, crowded, dangerous working conditions coupled with inadequate procedures belong to a bygone era, and more recent policy reforms have brought about dramatic improvements.
However, a successful health and safety program involves more than printing a set of instructions on paper and passing them out to the workers. You need employee engagement which requires clear and consistent communication. Your goal is to make sure that your employees understand the rules, the proper procedures and why they’re important.
To prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace, you need to start by understanding the most common safety risks and what to do to reduce these risks as much as possible.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, but slips, trips and falls are a frequent cause of accidents in any type of working environment. They account for about a third of workplace injuries.
The type of injuries slips, trips, and falls can cause are neck and back injuries, sprains, pulled muscles, broken bones, cuts and injuries to the head.
This type of accidents is usually caused by obstructions on the walking paths, wet or oily surfaces, occasional spills, loose rugs or wrinkled carpeting, uncovered cables, uneven walking surfaces, weather hazards like icy steps, improper footwear and rushing employees.
To prevent slips, trips and falls, you need to, first of all, maintain good housekeeping. Encourage employees to report any potential risks from the list we mentioned above. You’ll also want to keep the walkways free of any obstruction, cover cables, make sure walking surfaces are even, and your employees have proper footwear. You also need to provide your employees with training on all relevant safety information so they know how to avoid these accidents.
Lifting, Handling, or Carrying
It can be very easy for employees to injure themselves when lifting, handling or carrying heavy objects. You must have heard it a million time: lift with your legs, not with your back. Manual handling is a common cause of workplace injuries that can sometimes lead to chronic back problems.
Once again, employees need to be provided with proper training on bending, lifting, and carrying loads. For heavier objects, they need to receive instruction on how to carry them either with a coworker or with equipment. The goal is to take all possible measures to reduce the stress on the worker’s body, which will also reduce the risk of injury.
Accidents Involving Vehicles
Wherever there are moving vehicles, there’s also the risk of an accident. They tend to be more common in environments like warehouses, where forklifts are needed to carry loads, or in construction work. To prevent this type of accidents, you’ll need to take a look at the design of the workspace and plan the layout in such a way as to set clear pathways for the vehicles and separate them from the rest of the workers.
Workers will also need to wear high visibility jackets, and the persons operating the vehicles need to respect the speed limit and sound the horn at intersections or any crowded areas so that both groups of employees are aware of each other’s location.
Falls from Height
Falls from height are a major cause of fatal injuries in the workplace. Whenever an employee is required to perform work-related tasks from height, there is a risk they will fall and injure themselves.
To prevent this sort of injury, work from height needs to be planned after an assessment of the risk. The employees have to receive proper training and personal protective equipment. Likewise, the equipment they use to reach that height – for instance, a ladder- needs to be inspected regularly and before every use. Detailed safety procedures regarding work at height are included in the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Repetitive Stress and Overexertion Injuries
Making the same motion repeatedly, which is typical of working on an assembly line, a supermarket checkout or in front of a computer, can put stress on muscles, tendons and nerves, leading to musculoskeletal disorders.
Symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder include pain, swelling, stiffness, numbness and weakness. These symptoms can prevent a person from performing not just work-related tasks but everyday activities as well.
To prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, you must first make sure that workstations are ergonomically sound so your employees can perform their tasks in a correct posture that minimizes stress on their body.
Moreover, you need to take measures that ensure they take enough breaks to rest and stretch. Breaks are also important for mental acuity. As an employee becomes fatigued, it affects their reflexes and their ability to focus, which means they will be more likely to do something that might cause an accident and less likely to react quickly to prevent it.