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While you might think your workplace is a safe environment, accidents at work are fairly common. Despite the high standards of health and safety we have in the UK, accidents do happen and can lead to employees sustaining both minor and major personal injuries. If you’ve been injured in a workplace incident that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Below are some of the most common causes of accidents at work:
Some of the most common causes of workplace injury are hazards in the construction industry. Every year, thousands of workers are injured on building sites. Accidents stem from faulty machinery, improper use of equipment and falls from great heights. Employees can reduce the risk of construction site injury by closely following safety protocol and wearing the necessary protective workwear.
The risk of a heavy object falling unexpectedly is a real threat of injury for staff in many sectors. Scenarios that might lead to injury from fallen objects include crates or boxes of produce falling in the stockroom/warehouse or heavy items, such as furniture, falling down a stairwell. Injuries from fallen objects can range from a fractured arm to a serious head injury. There’s little you can do to prevent this from happening other than to take care when lifting heavy items from above you. You should also wear a hard hat if working with heavy loads that have the potential to fall.
Every employer is obligated to provide all the training their staff will need to carry out their job role safely. This includes training staff on how to safely handle equipment and machinery and how to deal with any hazardous materials. If you have not been given adequate training and have incurred an injury as a result, you are eligible for compensation. Other examples of required training include sufficient training on how to safely carry out heavy lifting.
The use of dangerous chemicals in the workplace is dramatically increasing as more industries use them within their technology. With this increase comes growing numbers of chemical leak accidents and injuries. Injuries can range from mild skin irritation to serious breathing difficulties or visual impairment. If you work with such toxins, make sure your employer is providing you with the required protective gear. This might include face masks and gloves.
A fall, trip or slip can occur no matter where you work, even in an otherwise safe office space. Personal injury claims due to falls and trips range from a chipped tooth to serious spinal injuries and typically occur due to poor building maintenance or uncleared spillages. Furniture, equipment and products left out in public walkways are other common causes of trips in the workplace.
With the right precautions and efficient electrical maintenance, electric shocks needn’t be a risk in the workplace. However, when appliances and wiring are not inspected routinely, staff are put in danger. There are around 1,000 serious electric shock accidents in the workplace each year. Your chance of electrical injury is increased if you work with electricity outdoors.
The commercial kitchen is another workplace where there is an increased risk of personal injury. Accidents can occur due to slip hazards, sharp utensils and appliances, or hot pans, trays and liquids. Common personal injury claims from kitchen injuries include lacerations and burns.
Even if your job doesn’t involve driving a vehicle out on the road, if you work with forklift trucks, tractors and electric carts, you’re at risk of an impact injury or fall from a work vehicle. To avoid this common cause of accidents at work, make sure you wear the seatbelts provided and never step off a moving vehicle even if it is travelling extremely slowly. Exiting from a moving vehicle can lead to sprains or broken bones as well as more serious falls and head injuries.
Aside from one-off accidents in the workplace, employees may wish to make a compensation claim for a work-related illness. Work-related illnesses are brought about by the conditions or activities of a job. They include repetitive strain injuries sustained whilst using computers, stacking shelves or bending and lifting; for example, miner’s knee, trigger finger and tennis elbow. Other common workplace illnesses include acoustic shock, back problems and visual disturbances.
Was your workplace injury a result of something that could have been prevented? Accidents at work can have a whole host of causes. Get in touch with Jefferies to discuss your personal circumstances with our professional legal team and see if you are eligible to make a claim.
Published on 17th February 2015.