There are many implications that businesses face due to workplace injuries and illnesses — from claims to time away from work. 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.
Across 2015/16, workplace injuries and illnesses cost £14.9bn, of which £2.9bn was billed to the employer.
The annual bill has rocketed, but this isn’t the only reason as to why employers need to better their health and safety in the workplace. As an employer, your staff’s safety should be at the forefront of your mind.
Accident at work claims specialists, True Solicitors, 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.
A focus on safety equipment
Different sectors witness different amounts of fatalities over the year, the construction industry in particular had the most throughout 2016/17 with 30 in total — this was soon followed by agriculture (27) and manufacturing (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.
To prevent any damage to the head from incidents on a construction site — hard hats are required to be worn. 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.
However, hard-helmets aren’t the only protective gear that can be worn in this type of role — expect steel toe cap boots, hi-visibility clothing and noise cancelling headphones. 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.
The importance of training your staff
Many sectors require their staff to be fully trained in their area of speciality to do the job to ensure they’re safe in the workplace. 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.
However, it is not just fire safety procedures that staff need to be trained for. 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.
In some instances, employers must ensure that their employees have the correct certification to be able to safely carry out procedures. In some circumstances employers must ensure that their staff have the correct certificates to do the job. For example, in the construction industry, any employee who will be navigating a crane requires a Construction Plant Competency Scheme (CPCS) licence.
Taking a look at safety regulations
19% of the 621,000 workplace injury victims that were non-fatal were from slipping and tripping across 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.
Not only that, the Health and Safety Regulations 1996 say that businesses are legally obliged to provide the appropriate safety signs when there is a potential risk, such as wet flooring. 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.