When people hear the term “workplace accident”, they often think of people in high-risk jobs working with heavy machinery, with dangerous substances, or working at height. But the reality is that even someone who spends most of their day answering the phone, typing letters or driving a van can be at risk of workplace injury.
By definition, an accident is something that has happened unintentionally, but there are things that can be foreseen, and where putting in place a plan can greatly diminish the chances of an accident happening now or in the future. Here are 5 simple ways to avoid accidents in the workplace:
Keep workspaces clean and tidy
Regardless of whether you work on a factory floor, in an office, a canteen kitchen or a shop, many workplace accidents are the result of simple clutter. Cables, opened boxes of stationery, deliveries of goods and carelessly dropped tools can cause trips and falls. A simple spill that is not wiped up can make someone slip over. Always be on the alert for items that are out of place, equipment that is being used such for everyday tasks such as vacuum cleaning, replacing a lightbulb or people moving machinery.
Get the right training
Many people equate training with specialist jobs, but in fact many daily tasks require training to ensure that they are carried out safely and correctly. If your job involves lifting heavy items or people, going up ladders with loads, or even using equipment such as coffee machines, you need to know how to do so safely and without risk of injury. If your employer asks you to do a job that you are not sure about, ask to be shown or if you can work with someone who is experienced in that task.
Make sure signage is provided
A common cause of accidents in the workplace occurs when people are not aware of the conditions, maybe because they are visitors to the site. If certain parts of the workplace require people to wear specialist clothing, or if there are risks of personal injury due to things falling from height or forklift trucks operating, clear signage MUST be provided at entrances and in easy to spot locations.
If your employees make use of company vehicles, or if you require them to use their own vehicles to carry out work tasks, these must be included in your health and safety planning. Not only proper and regular maintenance, but also insurance must be taken into account, as some insurances can become invalid if a vehicle is used for another purpose. If an employee has a car accident while delivering your products after office hours, are you sure they are insured?
Many workplace accidents are the result of people cutting corners. While some health and safety precautions can be annoying, and take time to put in place, they are there for a reason. Don’t:
- Mop a floor without putting the wet floor sign out, even if there is no-one else in sight at the moment;
- Plug in an extension lead and trail it across the office floor, even if you will only need to use it for 10 minutes;
- Lift those heavy boxes instead of taking the time to get the trolley that is provided for the task;
- Spend all those hours in front of a screen without taking the necessary breaks, even if the job is urgent.
If an accident does happen:
Make sure it is reported. Even if it does not seem serious at the time, many hours are lost off work by people who have gone on to get complications from seemingly minor injuries. A cut can get infected; a back strain can lead to complications; working in an overly loud environment can lead to deafness later in life.
Get compensation. If you get injured at work, you may suffer financially now or in the future if you are unable to work, or if your injury causes complications later on. Compensation law can be complex and difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with the industry. As substantial amounts of money are often at stake, big employers may reject incomplete or confused claims.
At Taylor & Scott, every injured worker’s claim is carefully reviewed to determine if they are entitled to receive a lump sum payment for any permanent injury that they sustain. And with a no win, no fee promise, you don’t have further financial worries – if you don’t win, they don’t get paid!
For more information on workplace injuries and compensation law services, contact Taylor & Scott Lawyers today.