Why do accidents in the workplace happen?
Every 15 seconds, globally, a worker is killed because of a work-related illness or accident and 153 workers are injured because of the work they are carrying out. Although in the UK accident and fatality rates are falling because of health and safety law, many more accidents can be prevented with proper training and implementation of health and safety practice by employers.
It is not always the employer's fault, however, your employer is responsible for keeping you safe. This is why most businesses will have insurance to cover any accident claims made against them should an employee get injured because of an accident at work. Even if a piece of machinery malfunctioned, it may end up being your employer's fault over the company who sold or created the machine if your employer failed to regularly check or maintain the equipment.
What could cause harm to employees in the workplace?
Have employees been trained to do their job correctly and safely by their employer? It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that staff are fully trained in their role. This may also include additional safety training such as manual handling. All staff who require a licence to work with vehicles or machinery should have these documents checked to ensure they are allowed to do the work they have been hired for and that the licence is in date. Failure to do so could cause accidents which could be the employer's fault. Common hazards which could harm employees include:
- High levels of noise
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Working at height
- Working with machinery
- Working with asbestos
Employers must ensure that health and safety is acknowledged, followed and implemented in the workplace and this includes taking action against any potential risks or dangers, before they happen.
Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
If employees are required to use display screen equipment such as computers, laptops, tablets etc. they must also receive information and instructions on how to use the equipment safely. Employees can also request an eye test and the employer is required to provide one.
DSE may leave employees suffering from eye strain, fatigue, upper limb problems and back ache. Assessments should be carried out to prevent such injuries from occurring. It may be the employer's fault if an employee suffers as a result of using DSE equipment incorrectly or overusing it without being aware of the risks.
If it is my employer's fault, will a claim affect my job?
Victims who receive compensation from their workplace can continue to work in the same company, providing that their injury has not affected their ability to work. Employers should legally be covered for any claims made against them with Employers' Compulsory Liability Insurance and one claim may be what the company needs to address a lapse in health and safety.
The annual cost of workplace injury in the UK in 2014/15 totalled 4.8 billion. Preventing further accidents from happening in your place of work could save your employer more money in the long run, and even prevent a potential fatality. To discuss the process of making a claim against a negligent employer, call Accident Advice Helpline for free, no-obligation advice.
When is an employee most likely to suffer an injury at work?
You may be surprised to know that eight out of 16 fatal accidents in the construction industry happened to employees who had started work within the last ten days. In fact, of those affected, half were killed on their first day at work. This information, provided by HSE, shows the importance of proper training from employers.
Employees are far more likely to injure themselves within the first six months of employment than they are after they have been working for several years. It could be the employer's fault that an accident, or worse, has occurred. Ways to prevent new starter injuries from happening include:
- Ensuring new starters are capable of the work required of them
- Shadowing new starters on the job, or ensuring they are partnered with an experienced colleague
- Making sure the new starter can read and understand safety and warning signs
- Creating a healthy environment where staff can report concerns
- Provide an induction so that the new starter is familiar with the environment and can ask questions
- Employers should point out hazards
If you sustained a serious injury after starting a new job and you are not sure whether the accident was your fault or your employer's fault, contact Accident Advice Helpline for guidance and support.
Make a claim for compensation
There were 30.4 million working days lost to work-related illness and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2015/16. If you had to take time off after suffering from an accident or illness at work, and you don't believe you are to blame, call our team of experts to find out how much compensation you could be eligible to receive.
Call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 083 5045for free, no-obligation advice today.
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