5 ways to prevent common accidents at work

In the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) 2019-2020 Labour Force Survey, 693,000 workers reported sustaining a non-fatal injury at work, with 168,000 of these requiring more than seven days’ absence.

These rates have been decreasing over the past two decades, but they experienced an uptick since 2018, so it’s crucial that employers and employees do all they can to make workplaces as safe as possible. To help you prevent common accidents taking place within your business, here are five straightforward approaches you can employ to protect staff.

Optimise your policies and procedures

The first step towards implementing the proper safety measures within your workplace is to make sure your health and safety policies and procedures firmly reflect the work that is taking place during the day to day.

Do they cover all the work processes conducted by employees, the equipment they use, and the locations they work in?

Are there clear guidelines on what to do if an accident takes place? Who is qualified to administer first aid, how should the incident be logged, how should it be investigated, and how can the findings be used to make sure the accident doesn’t happen again?

Communication is key to an effective policy. Any changes you make to your policies and procedures must also be conveyed to staff and incorporated into company training.

Provide employees with safety training

Every employee must clearly understand and be qualified on how to safely conduct their roles. If they are not, they are a danger to themselves, other staff, and the business itself, so it’s vital they are provided with quality training that is built upon regularly.

Designate leaders within your organisation who must keep up to date on changing approaches to safety, and make sure their insights are reflected in the training you provide. Create training plans for staff. And if your company introduces new work processes, make sure these are reflected in your training before they are launched.

Keep the workplace tidy

Slips, trips, or falls are the greatest cause of non-fatal accidents in UK workplaces, according to the HSE’s statistics. One of the simplest ways to prevent them is by ensuring that the workplace is clean and tidy.

Safe from obstacles, employees will be able to perform their jobs without fear of encountering tripping hazards or being struck by poorly stored equipment or supplies, which will, in turn, improve their work quality and productivity.

Provide adequate PPE

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to safeguarding your staff. The choice of which you will need will depend on the tasks being performed: this information should be properly laid out in your health and safety policies and procedures.

Importantly though, you must choose quality PPE suppliers, as if you provide inferior items of equipment to your staff you will put them in danger and potentially open yourself up to legal action. What’s more, easily worn-out PPE may eat into your balance sheet over time, so it’s often worth paying a little more for robust items that will last much longer than their inexpensive equivalents.

Regularly inspect facilities, equipment, and vehicles

Regular inspections of your workplace and the equipment used throughout the business will help you identify the sources of accidents before incidents occur. They will give you insights on how quickly equipment is becoming worn or damaged, which can help you assess suppliers. It will also show you whether employees are properly following your rules and procedures, which can help inform your training and disciplinary measures.

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