Injuries can have a detrimental impact on a business, from lost working days to potential claims being made. In 2016/17, there were 137 workers killed due to a work-related accident. In 2015/16, there were also over 0.6 million workers who suffered from a non-fatal work injury which led to over 4.5 million working days lost, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey. It is also worth noting that in 2016/17, there were 92 members of the public killed due to work-related activities.
However, it’s not always the government that pay for these workplace injuries — in 2014/15, the total cost of injuries in the workplace came to £4.8bn, however employers were billed for more than half.
It’s important to review your current health and safety measures — and not just because of the bill. As an employer, your staff’s safety should be at the forefront of your mind. We discuss what measures a business can put in place to ensure the safety of their employees, as well as the public, to prevent the risk of workplace fatal and non-fatal injuries that could cost your company money in the long-term.
Investing in safety equipment
The industry with the highest number of workplace injuries is the construction sector, which experienced 30 deaths between 2016/17 — this was soon followed by agriculture with 27 and manufacturing with 19. These industries in particular often require certain safety equipment to abide by health and safety regulations – and wearing the equipment could separate your employees from a near death experience and a non-fatal injury.
When working on a construction site, a hard-hat is expected to be worn to protect any potential damage to the head. If your staff fail to wear the required hard hat, any of those injuries could be a direct cause of not wearing the correct safety equipment. Protective glasses should also be worn by employees that are exposed to debris, dust and bright lights that could damage the employee’s sight.
With health and safety becoming a core focus, there are other types of protective clothing available which include, noise cancelling headphones, hi-vis jackets and safety globes. Implementing a work policy that says your staff are required to wear safety clothing and equipment is the first step to preventing workplace injuries that could lead to fatal deaths or long-term work absences, which cost your company money.
A focus on staff training
Special training is having to be carried out for employees to ensure that employees are fully qualified for the job that they are doing. Every employee should be briefed on the safest fire exits around the premises, as well as what the procedure is in case of an emergency. In fact, many premises are permitted to carry out practice fire drills to ensure all members of staff are aware of the routine.
This ranges from fire safety evacuations to the most complex scenarios on a project site. In the manufacturing industry, which is the third most dangerous environment for fatal injuries in the workplace, some job roles require particular training and qualifications to use machinery. Where hazardous or dangerous machinery is involved, staff must be trained on how to use it – and must use the correct safety equipment and clothing at all times. 152,000 of the 621,000 non-fatal injuries in 2015/16 led to over 7 days of work absence – providing your staff with the appropriate training could save you a big cost seen through a loss of working hours due to workplace injuries.
Sometimes, businesses must check whether their staff have the correct certificates to do their role. For example, in the construction industry, any employee who will be navigating a crane will require a Construction Plant Competency Scheme (CPCS) licence.
Reviewing safety regulations in the UK
Slipping and tripping is one of the most common causes of injuries in the workplace, accounting for 19% of those who suffered one from 2015/16. The main causes of slips, trips and falls in the workplace are uneven floor surfaces, unsuitable floor coverings, wet floors, changes in levels, trailing cables and poor lighting – all of which can be prevented or marked out safely if the proper regulations are followed. Legally, businesses must follow The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which stipulates that employers must ensure that floor spaces are in good condition and free from obstructions.
When it comes to preventing injuries within the workplace, businesses are required to provide signage such for loose cables, wet floors and more under the Health and Safety Regulations 1996. For most companies, there are specific legal safety regulations in place to follow – it is worth looking up the regulations for your sector to maintain the safety of your staff.
This article was brought to you by True Solicitors, accident at work claims specialists.