A workplace injury can be an enormously costly thing. Depending on the severity, it might put the affected person out of action for weeks, months, or even longer. In some cases, the workers might have to seek other forms of work – and they might even seek legal redress.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the annual cost of work-related injury in 2018/2019 was around £5.6 billion. This includes around 6.3 million working days lost. As such, there’s not only a moral imperative to improve safety standards, but a financial one, too.
What are the most common forms of workplace injury?
The most common source of workplace injury is a slip, trip or fall on the same level, which amount to 29% of total injuries. You might add to this figure the 8% that result from falls from height, while bearing in mind that the injuries sustained in this way tend to be a great deal more serious. Injuries while handling, lifting and carrying account for 19%; being struck by a moving object, like a warehouse forklift, accounts for 11%.
Around three quarters of workplace injury lead to less than a week’s downtime, though the minority can be much longer than that.
What’s the trend over time?
According to HSE figures, the rate of injury is trending downwards, though there are signs that this decrease is plateauing. These figures are taken from the Labour Force Survey and extrapolated to cover the entire UK workforce, so they can be taken with a grain of salt.
Which are the most dangerous industries?
Several industries stand out as having a significantly higher injury rate. These are agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; manufacturing; vehicle repair; wholesale retail; and food service. Employers in these industries would be well advised to take particular measures to ensure the safety of the workplace as a whole.
If you’ve been injured and don’t believe that the work environment was made sufficiently safe, then you might seek the services of a personal injury solicitor to obtain a remedy.
Reducing the chance of an injury occurring
Now that we know all of this, how can we reduce the likelihood of an injury in the workplace?
Every workplace is different, and therefore it’s difficult to prescribe general safety remedies which apply equally to everyone. The first step for ensuring safety should therefore be a risk assessment – list all of the areas where an injury might occur, and then take steps to remedy them.
Staff should be given the equipment they need to protect themselves. This might mean facemasks, goggles, protective gloves, or substantial work boots.
The right training can prevent injuries before they happen. In physical work, this might mean yoga and stretching; or it might mean having procedures in place which get rid of trailing cables, and which prevent workers from lifting heavy loads alone.