HSE have reported that there were 142 fatal and 693,000 non-fatal accidents in 2020/21 so how can employers try and prevent future accidents?

‘Accidents happen’ – it’s a truth that we cannot ignore.  But during Injury Prevention Week we look at how to reduce both the likelihood of an accident occurring and the risk of injury if it does.

Richard Teare – Personal Injury Partner and Head of Health and Safety at Ringrose Law – shares his insights to help both employers and employees.

Employers

Whether you operate a factory, building site or office, there will be dangers that your employees and other visitors face, it is your responsibility to identify and reduce them to the lowest level that is ‘reasonably practicable’. This means taking such steps as are reasonable considering the nature, size and resources of your organisation.

  • Risk assess each role and each site. Mentally or physically walk through the process and identify any risks (e.g. slips/trips, manual handling, working at height, machinery, traffic, contamination, heat/cold)
  • Assess what control measures are in place and whether anything more is needed.
  • Consider how those risks can be reduced by training, safe operating procedures, signs (e.g. preventing public access to machinery or to warn of moving parts), job rotation or personal protective equipment.
  • Review guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE – hse.gov.uk) specific to your area of operation for free advice and support.
  • Be reactive and proactive. Keep a record and respond to any incidents or near misses. Prevent recurrence and identify patterns to avoid similar incidents before they happen.
  • Continue to review and update risk assessments, procedures and training regularly.

Employees

Every employee has a duty to act in accordance with their training and instruction and in a safe manner.  You must also report any concern to your employer or relevant health and safety representative.  This is particularly important if your employer operates collective protection measures such as a ‘clean as you go’ policy or similar where responsibility is spread across the workforce rather than (or as well as) a specific individual.

  • Slips and trips are the biggest cause of workplace accidents (29% in 2019/2020), most occur because of debris or an uneven surface that could have been cleared or fixed. If you see a hazard, fix it or report it.
  • If you are unsure how to do a job then ask a supervisor or health and safety representative.
  • Be aware that even experienced colleagues may not follow best practice, which can lead to repetition of dangers.
  • If your employer does not listen or act upon your concerns then report directly to the HSE (hse.gov.uk)

Minor or modest injuries are unpleasant and cause pain and suffering to the individual and loss of productivity and income to the employer.  Catastrophic or fatal injuries are life changing for all involved.  Prevention is better than cure.

We can help

For further advice or if you have been involved in an accident at work please get in touch.

Contact Richard and the Personal Injury team at Ringrose Law on 01522 561020 or email wecanhelp@ringroselaw.co.uk

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