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Top 8 most common accidents that cause injuries in the workplace

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Top 8 most common accidents that cause injuries in the workplace

All employers are under a duty to keep their workers safe from harm, but many don’t take this duty seriously enough. This results in many accidents every year, some as minor as a bumped elbow and others much more serious, even fatal.

Have a look at our list of the most common causes of workplace accidents in the UK, and whether you’re an employer looking to keep your staff safe and well, or an employee trying to stay out of harms way, hopefully it will will give you a little insight into what to look out for in the workplace!

Repetitive strain

Repetitive strain and overextension injuries can affect almost anyone in any job, and although they may not seem too painful at first, they can have have serious long term effects and even lead to permanent disabilities.

The nature of many jobs is highly repetitive, from typing at a computer all day, to manual labour and lifting. The resulting injuries range from carpal tunnel syndrome to vision problems and muscle strains, but all can be avoided with appropriate ergonomic equipment, safe working policies and adequate manual handling training.

Violence at work

One common cause of workplace injury, that you may not have considered, is a violent act. Whether that’s a punch on the nose from a disgruntled co-worker in the office, or a member of the public taking offence to your service, either way, it can result in serious harm.

If you have a particularly volatile colleague, it is up to your employer to recognise this and provide the appropriate training for that individual, or to remove that worker to keep the rest of the staff safe.

In some sectors, such as security, this level of risk increases, and to an extent violence is an expected hazard. But with appropriate PPE, self-defence and restraint training, the risk of harm can be minimised.

Machining accidents

Factory and production equipment presents a type of hazard that can result in very serious injuries. This is known as entanglement and usually occurs when loose clothing or hair enters a piece of the machine, or if a safety guard has been left off or tampered with.

Hands, fingers, hair and even entire limbs can quickly become tangled in the dangerous moving parts of a machine, trapping the worker and causing devastating injuries, leading to long term disfigurement and even amputations.

Most workplaces have precautions in place to ensure this doesn’t happen, but if you suspect that your employer hasn’t taken steps to reduce the likelihood of entanglement injuries – contact the Health and Safety Executive.

Falls from height

Falling from a height can refer to slipping off a ladder, falling down a flight of stairs or falling from a elevated working platform, such as a cherry picker. Although not completely avoidable, with the correct type of PPE and safety harness, the risk of a fall can be drastically reduced.

Specialist training is also available for people expected to work at a height, which can not only ensure a safer working environment for the staff, but will help to protect employers from legal action in the event of an accident.

Falling objects

Whether you work in a supermarket with high shelves, or on a building site with colleagues working above you – the chance of being injured by falling objects is much higher than you might think.

Head injuries are most likely to occur, and that’s why in environments such as building sites, where falling objects are likely to be heavy tools or materials, hard hats must be worn at all times to provide the utmost protection.

Slips and trips

These types of accidents are often the result of debris or clutter on the floor or wet floors, and nearly all can be avoided with the proper implementation of safe working practices.

Depending on the severity of the fall, the injury can result in a bruised knee or a broken leg, and even if a worker slips or trips and doesn’t fall, they can receive reaction injuries from jerked muscles.

Injuries of this kind are so easily avoidable, that they account for not just a large proportion of workplace accidents, but also a large number of successful legal proceedings against employers – so it is in everyone’s best interest to keep walkways and paths clean and clear of obstacles.

Vehicle collisions

For many employees, driving a vehicle is a large part of their job, but if an auto accident occurs involving a vehicle of any size, the consequences can be fatal.

The causes of these accidents can vary widely, from bad weather or driving conditions on the road, to unforeseen obstacles and other vehicles in warehouses, but with the appropriate training and supervision, most accidents can be avoided.

Forklift operatives are at most risk, as forklift accidents, such as overturned trucks, account for a large part of vehicle related workplace injuries. Employers should provide specialist training for the specific vehicles their workers are expected to operate, to minimise the likelihood of accidents and ensure the staff have the appropriate skills to keep themselves, and others working around them, safe.

For more information about common workplaces accidents, and how to avoid them, contact the expert team at Health and Safety Training Ltd. We can provide a range of worker training, tailored to reflect the specific hazards of your workplace, and provide risk assessment training to help you recognise any areas where you could improve.  

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