Accidents can happen in the workplace, we all know that. 600,000 of them happened in the year 2010-2011, over a third of which resulted in an employee taking more than three days off work. What’s more, you’ll be surprised how many accidents in the workplace occur as a result of poor practice from the employer.

Whether in a white-collar environment or a busy warehouse, employers that don’t care for their staff with proper health and safety will invariably see them get hurt – harming morale and costing the business in sick pay and diminished productivity.

What are the most common workplace injuries?

Irresponsible health and safety at work can result in illnesses, injuries and maladies of all shapes and sizes. From fractured limbs and bruising from slips, trips and falls to posture-related back and neck injuries as well as the psychological effects of stress and depression, there’s barely a condition that can’t be contracted at work.

However, because blue-collar workers are traditionally moving around more and exerting themselves more physically than their counterparts in offices, it makes sense that more injuries occur in warehouses, factories and industrial areas than in white-collar locations. According to the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, slips, trips and falls account for more than half of all major injuries and nearly a third of serious over 3-day injuries.

When it comes to fatal injuries, falling from height remains the biggest threat for employees with 40 dying in 2011/12 – again something that affects workers on construction sites and warehouses.

Why do employers neglect health and safety?

There’s no denying that businesses have cleaned up their act over the last 20 years and industrial areas are significantly safer than they were a few decades ago. But there are still employers out there that endanger their staff by flouting their health and safety responsibilities.

Why do employers ignore health and safety? There are a number of reasons. Although it’s tempting to think that injuries arise as a result of prudent penny-pinching businesses, it’s not quite as simple as that. Very often, a serious injury will occur not because a company has neglected to invest the necessary time and money, but because of failed communication or through the fault of individuals.

How to protect employees from injury at work

To be successfully implemented, health and safety in the workplace needs to be dealt with from top to bottom – from senior managers deciding the safest course of action through to supervisors ensuring that the directions are being safely and completely carried out. It also requires full training for all employees – and for all workers to feel comfortable enough to regulate themselves. By letting their seniors know if any work that they’re due to carry out carries a risk they’re not only reducing the risk for themselves at work, but for their colleagues too.

AuthorAccident at work solicitors at Hugh James specialise in assisting employees and family members to make a claim if workers were injured on the job. From agricultural and manual handling accidents to slipping and tripping at work and workplace violence, the Hugh James team can help injured workers to receive the compensation they’re due if employers were found to flout their responsibilities.

Our thanks to Ben Magee for sending this article regarding the importance of employers living up to their responsibilities.  Every employee should be well trained, and understand the hazards and risks associated with their particular job description. pb