Health and Safety at Work – are you prepared?

Accidents in the workplace causing injury to employees, visitors and members of the public are hard to avoid but if a business has failed to implement the necessary health and safety procedures, it will be held responsible. Injuries among members of staff can lead to a loss of productivity, but more importantly can result in legal action.

The agriculture, forestry, fishing and construction sectors had the highest rates of non-fatal accidents in the UK in 2022, according to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but many of the most common types of accidents –slips, trips and falls, handling, lifting and carrying injuries occur in any workplace.

It appears that the perceived relative safety of offices and office work compared with more physical types of activity can increase the risk of injury, as employers often fail to take potential dangers seriously and the employer must undertake a risk assessment to help to understand the most common risks faced and the steps to mitigate them. There are a number of common workplace accidents that pose a specific risk in an office environment:

In 2022, slips, trips and falls were the most common type of non-fatal accident across all UK workplaces. These accidents are a particular risk in offices, as they can be caused by various factors like loose carpeting, wet floors, cluttered walkways, or poorly maintained staircases.

Ergonomic injuries arise from lack of care in setting up workstations, prolonged periods of sitting down, and repetitive movement such typing.

Improper use of electrical equipment, or poorly maintained equipment, can lead to shocks, burns, and in extreme cases, fires.

Office environments may not involve heavy lifting to the same degree as other industries, but injuries can still occur from incorrect lifting or moving. Workplaces where lifting and carrying is uncommon may fail to provide training to employees who will carry out these duties, which can result in injury.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure employees’ health, safety, and wellbeing and regular risk assessments and training go a long way in preventing accidents in the workplace.

121 HR Solutions can provide guidance in Health and Safety matters and can be contacted on 0800 9995 121.

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