Health and safety experts are calling on all companies to be more proactive and make sure their employees do not succumb to the most common forms of workplace accident.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), unsafe machinery and falls are the two most widely-recorded reasons for firms in the north-west of England being taken to court over breaches of health and safety regulations.
The executive’s operations chief in the region, Steven Smith, said some companies make safety improvements only after the event of a serious injury or even tragic death.
Slips, trips and falls
Across the country, falls accounted for nearly a third of the 181 people who were killed at work in 2012/13, figures show.
Accident Advice Helpline has helped thousands of people claim compensation for the injuries they’ve sustained in slips, trips and falls in the workplace.
Mr Smith said the HSE is hoping to prevent accidents in the future and force firms out of their complacency, by bringing cases to court when the rules are breached.
Figures show that of the 65 cases successfully taken to court by the executive in the region over the last year, 14 concerned working at height with another dozen involving machinery that wasn’t safe.
More needs to be done
Mr Smith said firms need to do more to prevent their workers being hurt in falls. Simple measures, he said, can include harnesses and scaffolding as well as nets under fragile roofing.
He added that a wider use of safety guards as well as regular maintenance is required to ensure the machines employees are working on do not put them at risk.
Mr Smith said that while assessing the risk posed by a specific activity can take as little as a few minutes it could ultimately result in an employee’s life being saved.