Despite the advances of health and safety in the workplace in the last century, accidents and even disasters do still happen. Whilst all kinds of employment often carry risks, certain mishaps seem to frequent the accident log more than others. By raising awareness, a commitment to proper training and ensuring our colleagues have the correct safety equipment we can hope to reduce these accidents.
Here are some of the most common that were reported:
Trip and falls
Every working environment from a factory floor to an office is at risk of having trip hazards in it. Exposed wires laying on the floor between computers can be easily tripped over. Discarded plastic packaging and boxes being left where they shouldn’t be have also been listed as causes for falls. Some people don't even need a trip hazard, they're more than capable of tripping over thin air. Statistics from the HSE suggest that trips and falls made up 29% of all non-fatal workplace injuries in 2017, making this the most common injury at work by 7%.
Muscle strains and damage
Muscle strains and damage are usually related to heavy lifting and materials handling, really underlining the importance employee training in this area. This area accounts for 22% of non-fatal work-related injuries in the UK.
Cuts and bruising
A simple lapse in focus, or maybe using inappropriate safety equipment, leads to minor injuries like bumps or cuts. Initiatives like the Traffi-gloves system have been introduced for an easy colour reference to the appropriate level of cut protection being worn, among numerous other schemes designed to prevent minor injuries.
There are usually serious precautions that have to be taken when working with any kind of harmful or toxic fumes. And with good reason, as it’s still a highly reported workplace injury. Injuries can vary from anything like a simple skin reaction to a much more serious and even terminal illness. Major efforts have been made in health and safety to address dangerous working conditions surrounding toxic fumes, including national guidelines on workplace exposure limits for an array of hazardous substances, (known as COSHH regulations).
Being struck by objects
Perhaps one that will surprise, but among the 5 most common workplace injuries reported last year were objects striking employees. According to HSE, our increasingly cluttered and busy workspaces caused this to make up 10% of all non-fatal workplace injuries reported. Whilst PPE, such as safety helmets, are obvious solutions in places like building sites and warehouses, other eventualities can be difficult to legislate for beyond providing staff training, ensuring a sound and uncluttered work environment and hoping that common sense prevails...
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