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Best practice for preventing an accident at work

accident at workWhatever your job, working hours or days, working life can often become a monotonous routine. Every person around you at work is busy going about their own tasks for the day and it can be easy to become complacent. As you become more skilled, experienced and quicker at your role you might start to feel that certain health and safety preventative measures are unnecessary or it might be you are working to an important deadline or rushing off to an appointment, so decide to cut corners, or simply take your eye off the ball. The trouble with this approach is that an easily preventable accident could fall at the expense of others and lead to life changing problems for the injured party, which is why is it important to be aware of the people and processes around you all of the time, whatever your level of seniority in the workplace may be.

Assessing the risks

Whatever your job, there is likely to be an element of risk somewhere within your role and some are more obvious than others. This could be more of a physical risk if you are in a job such as construction or chemical if you are in manufacturing or agriculture, or biological if you are working in healthcare. Slightly less obvious risks are those which could happen in most settings and are more to do with organisational safety processes not being followed, such as wet floors in an office kitchen or an loose carpet on the stairs causing a trip hazard.

It is important for an employer to highlight and provide satisfactory training to prevent accidents taking place well as the responsibility of an employee to remain aware and alert to these risks for the safety of all colleagues, customers and visitors. It is also important as an employee to be aware of the procedures in the company.

If an accident does occur

If the unfortunate does happen and and accident occurs at work, the manager or business owner will need to be contacted as soon as possible, however the first step would be to seek immediate medical attention by either in house first aiders or by calling an ambulance if necessary. Make sure you have the relevant number of first aiders and that they are adequately trained to provide support for the type of risks in your working environment. The injured party’s health is always to take priority in these matters but trying to find out as much information about the accident might be able to help with the treatment of their injuries and preventing more damage from being done, such as by moving them if the have a back or neck injury. These details will all be compiled as part of an accident report which will have to be provided and documented by the company as this information may be required in the event of a formal investigation into the incident.

Reporting an accident

All employers need to have adequate procedures in place for the misfortunate event of an accident. Detailing and Documenting an accident is of high importance in accordance to the RIDDOR act which stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. These Regulations are in place for the protection of employees and require employers as well as the the self-employed and those who control premises to report any incidents that happen in the workplace. As an employer it is important to be aware of this as any incident needs to be reported within 10 days and in the case an incident needs to be investigated this report will be one of the first references. There can be lots of uncertainty on the severity of the accident as to whether it needs to be reported. You can find details on how and when to report an incident on the HSE website. If it is likely that the injured party may make a claim against the organisation, it is important to also seek the advice of a legal expert as soon as possible. More information and advice about the claims process can be found at accidentclaims.co.uk  

Helping the injured party to return to work

Immediately following an accident there will be certain regulations to be followed regarding the aftercare of the injured employee. They may have been provided a sick note declaring them a length of time off for recovery from a doctor which will have to be honoured. They will also be  entitled to sick pay, for which durations and amounts will have been detailed in the injured party’s employment contract. The manager will also have to arrange a back to work interview with a start date in mind before commencing back at work and providing a staggered return can always be an option if deemed appropriate. Depending on the severity of the injury sustained, extra training or specially altered equipment may be required to assist in their return to work.

Promoting a safe and healthy work culture

With targets and deadlines affecting everyone from topline management to frontline workers, it can be easy to put staff under too much pressure and when it is company-wide, it becomes an even bigger problem to tackle. Something that is often overlooked but beneficial in many ways is the importance of promoting a safe and healthy company culture. Taking steps to ensure staff remain vigilant of potential risks can provide a positive environment to work and so can affect mood and moral leading to a more productive workforce. Helping employees to achieve the correct balance between home and work life can play a important role with factors such as fatigue being one of the most common causes of an accident at work.

Throughout the working day there are likely to be different levels of risk and is important to keep these at the forefront of each and every employees mind. Providing regular training sessions to keep these hazards and procedures refreshed as well as having literature and signage around buildings is all good practice. It is also important to make sure all equipment is in full working order and usage policies in place for the use of certain machinery is followed. Sticking to this aim will ensure the organisation is running as safely and efficiently as efficiently as possible.