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Workplace Accidents & How To Prevent Them

24th March 2020
Workplace Accidents & How To Prevent Them

Workplace and office accidents can happen anytime, ranging from minor injuries to serious, life-changing incidents. Knowing how to prevent accidents in the workplace is crucial, as well as how to identify and address potential hazards before they can cause harm. This article will look at ways to identify some of the most common workplace accidents and reduce the associated risks while covering the crucial information you need to keep your office or workplace safe and accident-free.

Common workplace accidents and how to identify potential hazards

According to the Health and Safety At Work summary statistics report for 2022, the government’s Health and Safety Executive recorded that employees sustained 565,000 non-fatal injuries due to workplace accidents in 2021/22. The most common of these were slips, trips, and falls (30%), handling, lifting, or carrying (18%), and being struck by a moving object (11%).

Even the most safety-conscious and prepared employees can be affected by work-related accidents and injuries. But by understanding the potential hazards, taking steps to prevent them, and educating and involving your team in workplace safety, you can create a safer and healthier work environment for everyone. Here are some suggestions on how to do it:

Conduct a hazard assessment

A thorough risk assessment can be vital in preventing accidents, helping you find potential physical, mental, and chemical hazards before they become an issue. These should be carried out regularly, ensuring you check all areas of your business, highlighting any potential risks, big or small, and acting upon your findings.

Involve your employees

It’s common for facilities managers to carry out risk assessments. But it’s important your employees are involved too. They’ll know of issues or problems, and their practical knowledge is valuable when developing and introducing preventive measures.

Identify specific hazards

By walking through the workplace and assessing all types of equipment and working practices, you’ll be able to identify and map out any potential hazards associated with both. But remember to talk to staff and managers who can provide information on things that aren't immediately obvious, like the need for any slip resistance matting.

Implement safety measures

Following your risk assessment, implementing your findings throughout the workplace will make a real difference to your staff's health and safety. While new safety measures should be suitable for preventing potential hazards, you should focus on the most critical improvements first without trying to implement everything all at once, which can be costly.

Develop safety policies and procedures

This is an ideal time to overhaul any of your safety policies and procedures that are currently in place. Ensure that your safe working systems are added to a wider health and safety policy covering the whole company, and update any safe operating procedures, such as job safety or work instructions.

Provide training and education on safety measures

Any new or revised health and safety policies shouldn't be confined to a manual. Regular training and educating all staff in correct safety methods and procedures is essential to overall compliance. Much of this can be done in-house, for machine operation, for example, but you may need specialist training in areas such as first aid or fire safety.

Regularly inspect machinery and maintain PPE

All equipment and machinery should be regularly inspected for potential hazards, formally or informally, to ensure staff can use them safely and any problems rectified before becoming a health and safety issue. Any protective equipment, such as slip-resistance matting, clothing, safety goggles, overalls, and gloves, should also be provided and regularly checked.

Encourage a safety culture

Creating a workplace safety culture is essential for preventing accidents and injuries and maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. By doing this, you can encourage an open, transparent, and cooperative work culture while demonstrating your commitment to safety through clear expectations, employee involvement, and ongoing communication and training.

Promote open communication about safety

Promoting more open communication about safety means your employees will feel comfortable sharing their concerns, allowing for potential hazards to be identified and addressed before they can cause harm. Encourage an open dialogue between management and employees through weekly or monthly safety talks throughout the business.

Reward and recognise employees

Additionally, employee recognition can greatly acknowledge their efforts in demonstrating safe behaviour, working practices, and promoting safety. Rewarding them for this is a way to show they’re adding significant value in creating a positive safety culture.

Invest in safety technology and materials

Employers have a duty of care to safeguard all employees and visitors, and a lack of safety measures will mean a risk of injuries and, potentially, lives. Investing in safety means you prevent damage to machinery and property, and avoid reduced productivity or business interruption, while your reputation and profitability remain high.

Respond to accidents

Responding to workplace accidents quickly and effectively is crucial in preventing harm to employees and damage to equipment. But failing to report serious accidents in the workplace under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) could result in fines. To ensure all staff can respond to accidents, you should take the following steps:

Develop an accident response plan

An accident response plan should be in place to ensure the relevant people know what’s going on and who’s responsible for taking action. This plan will help reduce any potential damage your business could face in the event of a severe accident. The response plan should include details such as what actions will be taken, how those actions will be completed, and who will complete them.

Ensure employee training on how to respond to accidents

Training your employees on how to respond is essential to enforce your commitment to safety if anyone suffers a fatal or non-fatal workplace accident. These accidents can happen anywhere, and a trained responder could prevent a non-fatal accident from becoming fatal.

Investigate accident causes and implement preventative measures

Should any accident occur in your workplace, a full investigation should take place. Gathering and analysing all information is crucial to understand what happened before identifying risk control measures and implementing any preventative measures. Also, ensure your accident response plan is updated if necessary.

MatsDirect UK: Safety mats and flooring experts

Workplace accidents that can cause physical and financial harm are a serious issue. Employers should take the necessary steps to keep employees safe and take proactive measures to reduce risks, from training to safety protocols, equipment maintenance, and more.

With over 30 years of experience, MatsDirect UK provides a wide range of safety mats to prevent some of the most common accidents in the workplace. From anti-static floor mats and electrical switchboard safety matting to anti-fatigue mats and desk chair mats for personal safety or complete entrance matting systems to prevent slips and ensure the safety of customers and employees.

Talk to the MatsDirect UK experts today for more information by sending us a message, calling us on 0161 797 6785, or emailing Join some of the world’s most successful organisations and invest in the highest-quality safety mats and flooring to ensure your employees' safety.



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