Accidents at work are often portrayed as rare events. On its own, this opinion is harmless, but it’s often implied that they’re also very unfortunate events, with nobody really to blame for it. Accidents at work are neither unfortunate nor rare – they are common, and usually occur because of easily predictable and avoidable situations.
How common are accidents at work? We took a look at the HSE’s statistics on accidents at work, and offer a rough look at how frequent these accidents are.
Accidents At Work Per Day, Week And Year
There were 58716 accidents at work that resulted in more than seven days off work in the year 2013-14. This is an unusually low amount, due in part to changes in the ways accidents at work have been recorded in recent years, but it’s still enormously significant.
That means that there were roughly 1130 accidents at work every single week in the year 2013-14, or 161 accidents at work a day that were serious enough the employee missed seven days off work. People may joke about getting sick notes from their doctor, but in reality low or non-existent sick pay means that taking time off work is a choice that is really hard for most employees to make, even if they don’t enjoy their work.
The annoying thing about these accidents is that they are mostly down to the same two categories. These categories are Slips, Trips and Falls, and Injuries While Handling, Lifting or Carrying. You might recognise that these categories of accidents at work should be extremely easy for employers to guard against. This only further illustrates the difficulties faced when it comes to educating employers about safety at work.
The Two Most Common, Most Avoidable Types Of Accident At Work
Photo by MySafetySign.com
We have broken down the Slips, Trips and Falls statistics elsewhere on this site – those figures deal with ‘major injuries’, so they don’t necessarily match up with the exact numbers we’re using here, but the proportions are close.
The other injuries, Injuries While Handling, Lifting or Carrying, are painfully common and incredibly easy to avoid. Appropriate training and supervision can eliminate a good 90%+ of injuries while handling, lifting or carrying, and often the people involved aren’t even aware that it was their employers’ responsibility to protect them. Common situations where an employee could be injured while handling, lifting or carrying when they required additional training or supervision include:
- Fetching a heavy object from the back of a shop (especially furniture shops).
- Carrying items up stairs.
- Being forced to carry items in a rush to meet demand.
- Being asked to load or pack items when that’s not part of your job description.
These are just a very few of the many common scenarios in which employees are asked to risk their personal health for their boss’ private profit, and we don’t think it’s fair that they should be asked.
Slips, Trips and Falls are very common too, and this is despite some of the most obvious precautions that you can take against, for example, spilled fluids being among the easiest and best known health and safety precautions. Once an employer knows that a slip or trip hazard exists, there is really no excuse for them to fail to provide at least some kind of cones or safety tape to delineate the area and warn employees that it’s not safe to walk there.
Had A Slip, Trip Or Fall Or An Injury While Handling, Carrying Or Lifting?
If you’ve suffered either of these common forms of accident at work, don’t be put off by the stories that are told about the law. The law exists to protect you – and we exist to protect you – and you deserve to be compensated for lost earnings and injuries that are due to your boss’ lax safety standards.
If you’ve had a common accident at work injury, please get in touch for more information and to see if we can help with your case – free of charge and obligation.
Top Ten Most Common Workplace Accidents