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This article was published on August 16th, 2017
The Oxford dictionary defines an accident as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury”.
A key part of the definition is that it is an incident that happens unintentionally, and as such, it should preventable more often than not.
With an estimated 30.4 million working days lost due to work related illness or non-fatal workplace injuries, it’s clear that accidents in the workplace are a major cause for concern.
With this in mind, we thought we’d share some advice on steps that both employers and employees can take to help avoid an accident in the workplace.
The best place to start is with the health and safety policy for the company. If you’re an employee, make sure you’re familiar with the policy at your place of work. Alternatively, if you’re a business owner, you should have one in place!
A health and safety walkthrough should be part of any new employee’s introduction to the company to help avoid any confusion further down the line.
You can take this one step further by posting safety guidelines around the office or workplace and make sure that everyone is aware of them and take notice.
Full details of both an employer and employee’s responsibilities and duties can be found in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
It sounds simple, but staying awake and alert can help reduce the chances of an accident.
When a worker gets tired or is feeling lethargic, they can begin to become sloppy, and miss things.
Sure coffee is a great way to wake up, but getting up and having a short walk is a more sustainable way of waking yourself up.
If your job is desk centric, make sure you get away from your computer screen for around 5 minutes every hour.
This is most relevant for factory workers. Simply by being a factory worker, you are more likely to experience an accident at work, than those who work elsewhere.
If high-vis clothing is part of your uniform, make sure you wear it, it can help those around you spot you easily, especially those operating heavy machinery.
Likewise, if your role requires you to wear a hard hat, you must.
Many times accidents at work can be avoided if people were a little more vigilant.
If you see an accident waiting to happen, don’t just pass it by and do nothing.
Report things such as spillages, areas of disrepair or broken equipment to your line manager, or health and safety officer, as soon as you can.
Of course, if you are the employer, you can’t be everywhere at once. To combat this encourage your employees to keep their eyes peeled for any hazardous situations and if any hazards are reported, make sure you deal with them quickly and safely.
You can also set out a reporting process, and by keeping it anonymous, employees are more likely to voice their concerns.
No job is without inherent risks, the key is to identify them and deal with them efficiently.
Whilst factory workers and those on building sites may be the first to spring to mind when workplace injuries are mentioned, those who work in an office environment with display screens can also be victims of inherent risk.
Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome may arise in extreme situations, although eyestrain, as well as back and neck pain, are more likely causes for concern given that office workers tend to be hunched over a desk staring at a computer screen for long periods during their day.
It is the duty of the employer to make their employees aware of any risks that come with a job-related task and how the employee can minimize them.
If you don’t already hold them, you should start holding emergency drills.
If there’s a fire you want your employees to know exactly what to do ensure their welfare and reduce the risk of an accident or injury.
Make sure all employees participate in the drills and are made aware of their importance.
Anyone who fails to participate will be most at risk should an emergency actually present itself.
Whether you’re an employer or an employee shortcuts can be tempting.
When the end of the week is nigh the temptation is to get the job done quickly so that you can leave work behind until next week.
This is totally understandable, but cutting corners is an easy way to breed danger and can cause serious injury to those around you.
If a particular job cannot be finished by the end of the day, let your employer know, they may not be happy about it, but getting the job done properly is better than risking injury.
If you’re an employer, ensure a similar message is relayed to your staff, after all, nothing spoils someone’s weekend like a trip to the hospital.
However, whilst employee and employer alike may stick to these suggestions in order to minimise the risk of an accident in the workplace, unfortunately, they may still happen.
If you’ve suffered an accident at work and believe the fault lies with someone else, contact us for free by calling 0800 1979 345 or completing our online enquiry form.
Our personal injury solicitors have an excellent track record for settling personal injury claims. Our annual awards of damages for last year exceeded £14,000,000 with awards ranging from lower value minor injury claims of £750 up to complex catastrophic injury claims to the value of £1,300,000.
We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess the viability of your personal injury claim, so get in touch today.