Whether you work in an office or on a construction site, work-related accidents can happen at any time. According to government statistics, over 500,000 workers sustained an injury at work in 2021/22, and 36.8 million days are lost due to work-related illness and accidents. This encompasses all manner of physical accidents, from falls to machinery mishaps.
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure employee safety within a work environment that meets safety requirements. Understanding work-related incidents can drastically reduce personal injuries and promote worker well-being. Here are some of the most common causes of workplace accidents and how they can be prevented in the future.
What are the common types of work-related physical accidents?
- Slip, trips, and falls
Slips and trips are one of the most common accidents at work. They happen every single day and lead to no lasting injury, however, they can easily be dangerous. Tripping and falling can occur just about anywhere but is more likely to happen when walking up or down stairs, slipping on a spillage, or tripping on debris.
- Overexertion and muscle strain
Overexertion and muscle strains account for more than 20 percent of all workplace injuries in the UK, making them the most common injury of all. This can occur through improper lifting technique, repetitive work with no breaks, manually lifting heavy products, or small physical activity in an office environment.
- Hit by falling objects or equipment
When working with highly technical industry equipment and machinery there is always the risk that things can go home. These injuries can be serious, ranging from stress fractures to severed limbs and even blindness. Injuries of this nature typically happen due to falling tools, bumping into machinery, or excessive vibration.
This is more likely to happen if you’re working with vehicles or around them. Crashes and collisions are more likely to occur when workers are tired, not paying attention, or driving in extreme weather conditions. Accidents can be avoided by driving defensively and being aware of your surroundings.
- Exposure to harmful substances
Some workplaces involve the transport or handling of toxic substances which can be very harmful to employee health. To prevent exposure to harmful substances, staff should be given appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training on how to responsibly handle them.
How can we prevent these accidents and foster a safer workplace?
Preventing accidents should be a top priority for most workplaces and employers as staff injuries can result in a loss of productivity and legal action being brought against the company. Employers have the responsibility of providing employees with the necessary PPE equipment, giving regular training courses, and reminding staff about what is and isn’t appropriate work behaviour.