Workplace accidents can have serious consequences for employees, resulting in death or serious injuries. In 2016 the most dangerous occupations in the UK included agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors. However, many of these accidents could have been avoided through better preparation and planning, together with training and provision of protective equipment.
Unfortunately, many workers take shortcuts, believing they are saving themselves time and effort. Inevitably taking shortcuts exposes workers to increased risks, especially when a job involves using dangerous machinery or toxic chemicals. As a result, there is an increased risk of serious injuries or fatalities.
Another cause of workplace accidents is due to over-confidence in one’s abilities. This attitude increases risk, leading to poor decision-making and a belief that “it will never happen to me”. Employees start to believe that they are invincible.
Having a tidy and well organized workplace is a good sign that a company has a healthy attitude towards workplace safety and takes its responsibility towards employees seriously. A disorganized environment leads to hazards which can result in serious injury or death. Good housekeeping on the other hand sets a positive example to all colleagues which they can follow.
Employees at all levels will have set procedures which they are expected to follow every time that they carry out a task. This ensures that they keep themselves and their colleagues safe. It is important that procedures are followed correctly every time. Neglecting such procedures is a major cause of workplace accidents.
Thorough preparation and risk assessment are important ways to reduce risk and keep ourselves safe at work. It allows workers to think through how they are going to approach a task and to make sure that they have everything they need in terms of equipment and tools.
The most common workplace injuries are caused by overexertion, for example when lifting heavy items. Slipping and tripping are also common occurrences, especially when it is raining outside and staff enter a building with wet footwear or when spills have not been dealt with promptly.
Employees who work in elevated areas, such as on roofs or using ladders, are at increased risk of falling. Accidents may be due to a slip or using faulty equipment. These risks can be reduced by using personal protection equipment and through training. Falling objects can cause serious head injuries. Employees and bosses have a joint responsibility for keeping the workplace free from hazards. Staff should be issued with hard hats and encouraged to use these.
Factories can be particularly dangerous environments. Clothing and fingers can easily become trapped in heavy machinery, with disastrous results leading to life changing injuries. These can be prevented by issuing protective equipment, training and enforcing safety procedures.
Everyone at work has a responsibility to keep themselves and their colleagues safe. This includes having a tidy and well-organized working environment, sharing information and following set procedures. Employees need to plan tasks before making a start and should have access to suitable protective equipment such as hard hats.