Most common work related accidents

Health & Safety

Health & Safety

Under UK law, employers are responsible for assessing and managing risks in the workplace to protect their employees from becoming victims of work-related accidents and illnesses. These safety measures vary according to the industry, but may include ensuring that employees receive frequent health and safety training or providing them with proper protective gear.

Still, even when safety measures are carefully followed and implemented, accidents can still occur in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that 173 work-related fatalities and 591,000 accidents occurred in the UK last year alone. Find out which accidents were among the most common by reading the article below.

Slips and trips

The HSE reports that slips and trips are one of the most common types of workplace injuries, accounting for approximately one-third of all major injuries. In total, an estimated 30,000+ workers were hurt due to a slip or trip that occurred in the workplace last year, with 8,929 workers reporting a major injury and 21,128 workers being incapacitated to work for three or more days. Poor flooring, obstacles, contamination in the form of liquids or grease, and environmental factors are some of the most commonly cited culprits for causing slips and trips in the workplace.

Falls from height

According to RIDDOR, working at height is the most perilous workplace activity, accounting for nearly one-quarter (23%) of fatalities. Furthermore, falls from height are the second most commonplace cause of major injuries to workers, with a combined total of 7,378 employees reporting major injuries or over-3-day absences from work in 2011/2012. The field of construction puts employees at the greatest risk, accounting for six in ten fatal workplace falls, especially if the worker is self-employed.

Handling, lifting, and carrying

This broad category covers everything from strains and sprains while lifting or carrying loads to cuts from sharp objects and body parts getting trapped in machinery. Over 30,000 handling incidents were recorded by RIDDOR last year, and an estimated one in ten of all major workplace incidents were categorised under the “handling, lifting, and carrying” handle. Water and waste, transportation and storage, and manufacturing are the three fields in which handling injuries are most likely to occur.

Being struck by a moving object or a moving vehicle

After falls from height, workers being struck by a moving object or a moving vehicle accounted for the highest number of workplace fatalities in the UK last year. The former accounted for 31 fatalities, and as one might expect, were most commonly reported in the industries of construction, agriculture, and manufacturing. Meanwhile, moving vehicle accidents accounted for 20 workplace fatalities, though it is important to note here that only vehicle accidents that occur on work premises—such as car parks and loading bays—are reportable to RIDDOR. Fortunately, there has been a downward trend in the number of motor fatalities in the past ten years, and major and over-3-day injuries are relatively low as well. In fact, non-fatal vehicle injuries accounted for a mere 2% of workplace accidents recorded by RIDDOR.

Getting help

Of course, this article only provides a small sampling of the types of accidents that can occur in the workplace, from harmful chemical spills to faulty machinery and collapsing structures. If you have been the victim of an accident at work, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses and damages. Contact the solicitors at Irwin Mitchell to assess your eligibility.

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