It’s important to know what you, and your employer, should be looking out for at work.
Although responsibility ultimately falls onto your employer in most cases, being aware of these risk factors could help you flag up potential health and safety issues.
Fixing health and safety issues, especially those that can potentially leave workers with permanent disability or worse should be as much in your employer’s interests as yours. Be on the lookout for anything that increases your chances of falling foul of one of the ten most common workplace accidents.
Image by Elliott Brown
10. Exposure To, Or Contact With A Harmful Substance
The most recent statistics from the HSE show 890 cases of exposure to or contact with a harmful substance.
Accidents like this can cause anything from immediate injury, to long-lasting skin conditions, to death (in the case of extremely dangerous chemicals such as Hydrofluoric acid).
9. Struck By Moving Vehicle
There are many jobs that require you to work around moving vehicles, and when they’re controlled by humans there will be many cases where safety precautions are not properly adhered to.
There were around 1504 injuries caused by being struck by a moving vehicle in the year 2013-2014.
8. Strike Against Something Fixed Or Stationary
Being forced to rush, hurry or run in the workplace could result in collisions of this nature, as can poorly positioned objects and obstacles.
An enormous 2525 injuries were reported as being caused by striking against something fixed or stationary.
7. Contact With Moving Machinery
Contact with moving machinery is often associated with obviously dangerous work such as farming or fishing, but it can occur in areas as innocuous as the typical office.
There were 2786 injuries recorded due to contact with moving machinery in 2013-2014.
6. Acts Of Violence
Hardly an accident, but your employer might have reason to believe they are putting you in harms way by putting you into a violent situation.
There were 4936 injuries due to acts of violence in the workplace in 2013-2014.
5. Falls From A Height
Falls from a height are the fifth most common kind of accident in the UK. Falls from a height account for 5952 accidents according to the latest HSE statistics.
Falls from a height can refer to other incidents than simply falling from high places, including falls into uncovered holes or machinery.
4. Struck By Moving Object
Moving objects, including flying or falling objects, caused 7841 accidents in 2013-14. Poorly secured objects, dangerous working environments, and even thrown objects or objects accidentally dislodged by workers can cause serious injury. These form the fourth most common kind of workplace accident.
3. Other Kind Of Accident
Uncategorised kinds of accident are always possible. Make sure your employer is fulfilling their duty of care to you.
There were 9902 accidents that didn’t fall under any other category according to the HSE’s latest statistics, making ‘other’ the third most common kind of workplace accident.
2. Injured While Handling, Lifting Or Carrying
Being injured while handling, lifting or carrying is much more common than any other injury.
If you’ve not been trained to handle heavy loads properly, or have been given more than you can handle, or the loads have simply proven too much for your joints, bones or ligaments over a prolonged period of time, you may end up being injured for these reasons.
Handling, lifting and carrying objects is often seen as something to be expected of all employees, when in reality without appropriate training it can be quite dangerous.
There were an enormous 18354 injuries caused by handling, lifting or carrying in 2013-2014, making being injured while handling, lifting or carrying being the second most common kind of workplace accident by a wide margin.
1. Slips, Trips Or Falls
Slips, trips and falls on the same level are very common accidents. Many pass without injury being incurred.
However, a great many still result in injury – enough to give slips, trips and falls the dubious honour of making the top spot on our list.
Slips, trips and falls may not be your fault. If you were feeling faint, but your employer refused to allow you time off work, if the floor was uneven or wet, or if your assigned task simply meant you were unable to see where you were going, these could all be cause to seek compensation.
21,585 accidents involving significant personal injury were caused by slips, trips and falls in 2013-2014.
What Does This Mean?
These statistics have been taken from the governmental Health and Safety body itself, and as such are about as trustworthy as things can get.
They only take into account three categories of sufficiently serious injuries caused by workplace accidents, in accordance with RIDDOR:
- Fatal injuries
- Major or specified injuries
- Over-7-day injuries
These categories are fairly self-explanatory, but together ensure that minor injuries and scrapes and bruises are not included in these (scarily high!) figures.
The main takeaway is that the workplace is a lot more controllable than the average employer suspects. It is well within an employer’s power to make sure surfaces are not slippery, or hazards are properly signposted, or that objects are not stored far above ground level.
If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident, get in touch to see what we could do for you.