Common workplace accidents and what employers should do

The health and safety of every employee is quite clearly an important factor for every business. But no matter the precautions you take, an accident is always a possible scenario. If you are involved in the running of a business, you need to be prepared for all kinds of situations and understand the ramifications should an accident occur.

workplace accidentsAs expert solicitors in dealing with claims such as workplace accidents, Fatal Accident Claims have provided the following information and advice on the most common accidents and how they may affect you as a manager or business owner.

The most common accidents at work and how to prevent them

To begin with, it’s important to identify the types of accidents that may occur in your workplace. There will be some accidents that are universal across all industries, while others will only exist in certain jobs. Regardless, in performing an audit of your health and safety regulations, you should identify any potential hazards that your own employees may encounter and put measures in place to eliminate or minimise the risk.

One of the most common work accidents involves slips, trips and falls. This can be caused by several issues, including wet floors, poor lighting, loose rugs and clutter. An employee may suffer head and back injuries, cuts, sprains and other injuries from minor to severe. It is your duty to ensure that your employees know their responsibilities in keeping a tidy, well-maintained work environment and that any issues are appropriately reported.

Overexertion is another frequent issue that you may come across. If you’re line of work involves heavy lifting and moving of objects, ensure that the employee is aware of correct posture and takes breaks as necessary. Does your business use machinery? Body parts becoming entangled with or struck by unsecured machinery can lead to grisly and life-lasting consequences. Protective clothing should always be provided, and no employee should use a machine until they have received adequate training. Similar to the previous point, if your business requires the use of a vehicle, consider how much experience is required of the driver and their license type, as well as the environment they will be navigating.

How accidents can affect your business

As an employer it is your duty to ensure the welfare of all your employees as laid out by the government’s Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This means that you must protect employees from anything that may cause harm, carry out regular risk assessments, and engage your employees to inform them of any risks and how they should deal with said risks.

If you fail to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of your employees and an accident occurs, you may be obliged to pay compensation. This will not only affect the finances of your business but may also negatively affect your reputation and deter future job applicants. Making yourself fully aware of your responsibilities and identifying the risks associated with your workplace can help prevent losing a compensation claim.

If an employee has suffered an injury, whether minor or severe, you may be obliged to cover the costs of their treatment as well as pay compensation for the suffering caused by workplace accidents. If a fatal accident has occurred, it may be that a dependency or bereavement award claim will be made against you. The case will be argued that a person connected to the deceased has suffered loss, both in terms of emotional and financial, due to the fatal accident.

What to do should an accident happen in your workplace

Despite the precautions you may take, accidents at work can still happen, whether through fault of your own or not. In the immediate aftermath, you should make sure that the injured employee receives treatment as soon as possible. When the time is right, discuss with the employee how the accident occurred and explain how they can make a claim for treatment. As they recover from their injuries, it’s likely that they will need time off. Seek advice from the employee and their doctor to determine the length of absence. Don’t forget to re-visit your policy on sick leave and identify how the employee’s salary may be affected.

As an employee it is your legal obligation to report any workplace accidents to the Incident Contact Centre of the Health and Safety Executive within 10 days. You should be fully aware of details of what has happened and take the right measures to rectify the situation. Use the accident as a learning curve to prevent similar situations from taking place in the future.