Accidents in the workplace are unfortunately common. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your staff and although you cannot prevent any accidents happening at all, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your employees suffering an injury whilst at work.
In 2016/2017 around 609,000 workers reported a non-fatal accident at work and a further 1.3million workers were suffering an illness which they believed was caused by, or made worse by, their work. The industries which reported the highest number of accidents at work were agriculture, construction and transport. The highest numbers of illnesses amongst workers which were contributed to their work were found in health and social care, agriculture and education.
Accidents and illnesses not only cause the employee suffering, but they can affect your business as well. In the same period, 434,000 of those accidents at work resulted in an absence from work of up to 7 days and a further 175,000 required the employee to miss 7 days or more of work in order to recover.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimated the cost to businesses of accidents and illnesses suffered at work during the year 2015/2016. They estimated that the average cost to businesses for a non-fatal injury was £8,200 and anywhere up to £18,500 per case for illnesses caused, or made worse by, work. The HSE estimated that during 2015/2016, the total cost of workplace injury and illnesses was £14.9bn.
What can you do to prevent accidents in the work place?
The most common types of workplace accidents are trips and falls, followed by moving and handling accidents and being hit by an object falling from height. The most important step in reducing the chance of an accident happening in your workplace is to conduct a thorough risk assessment of your premises to identify potential hazards. Then you should act on this assessment to remove the hazards or put measures in place to reduce the risk of an accident happening.
Once you have done this, you should also ensure that you train your staff in first aid in the event an accident does happen. The more staff you have trained in first aid the better to ensure immediate help can be provided to someone who has become injured as this will ensure that treatment is offered quickly to reduce the risk of an injury worsening. The quicker a person can receive treatment, the less severe the injury may become and can potentially be life-saving.