Workplace injuries, both fatal and non-fatal have been declining year on year since the start of the millennium. However, while still reducing, there has been a definite levelling off in recent years. In 2016 – 2017, according to analysis from Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) , the number of fatalities was 137, with the majority being in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors. Non-fatal injuries in 2015-16 equated to 621,000 (taken from the Labour Force Survey – LFS). While this provides us with the wider picture, in this article we will outline the causes of the top five fatal injuries distinct from the top five non-fatal injuries and then delve into some of these in more depth. The top injuries in the year ending 2016, taken from RIDDOR were as follows:
- Falls from a height – 37
- Struck by moving vehicle – 27
- Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object – 15
- Trapped by something collapsing/overturning – 13
- Contact with moving machinery – 9
- Slips, trips or falls on same level – 20,294
- Injured while handling, lifting or carrying – 16,159
- Other kind of accident – 8,946
- Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object – 7,495
- Falls from a height – 5,956
Falls from height
Falls from height are a leading cause of workplace fatal and non-fatal accidents. According to the HSE, falls can lead to death even if less than two metres in height. Falls primarily occur from ladders (40% of all falls), vehicles and forklift trucks and plant machinery. Analysis shows that most falls are due to the lack of a risk assessment and the necessary management of risks – resulting in safe access not being assured.
Struck by moving object
Being struck by a moving object is a further main reason for injuries and even death in the workplace. This category covers a wide range of known causes of injury including stock falling from shelving, tools falling from scaffolding, stacked items falling or construction materials that are not secured. Hand tools also cause a great number of injuries; in particular, hand knives cause the largest number of injuries – this can easily be reduced by taking simple and sensible precautions such as keeping knives in protective sheaths, and also ensuring that tools are well maintained and sharpened, to reduce the need to use unnecessary force.
Struck by moving vehicle
Being struck by moving a vehicle is a big contributor to workplace deaths in Great Britain. Employers have a duty of care towards workers, regardless of who is driving the vehicle. To minimise the chance of any injury, it is important that drivers (e.g. lorry drivers) fully understand their responsibilities with regard to the vehicle. Similarly, workplace visitors and pedestrians and traffic must be kept safe from harm by taking safety measures, such as barriers, safe routing and effective driver training.
Slips, trips and falls
According to the HSE, slips, trips and falls are most common in the food and drink sector. Accidents in this category are entirely preventable. Most slips are due to wet surfaces, and falls are principally caused by physical obstructions and uneven surfaces. Such injuries can easily be prevented by using common sense approaches including implementing an effective cleaning regime, using dry cleaning methods, provision of suitable footwear and the use of proper warning signage. There are really no excuses for injuries of this type.
Injured while handling, lifting or carrying
Manual handling injuries (the cause of a third of workplace injuries) are particularly troublesome for employers as they can impact anyone across the workforce, not just those in direct contact with machinery; as such they are harder to avoid entirely. A full training programme for all employees is essential to minimise the chance of an injury when lifting heavy objects. Even a small mishap when moving an object can lead to several days off work.
Can I make a claim for a workplace injury?
Every year thousands of people receive financial compensation after suffering an injury in the workplace, including the direct family members of those who have died in an accident. Proving responsibility is not always straightforward, however it is crucial that evidence of a lack of due care is found to bring a successful claim.
If you would like to know if your workplace accident was caused by your employer, or another person or company, and if you can make a claim, please contact one of our specialist workplace injury solicitors today.
At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered an injury at work and would like a free claim assessment so that you can understand your rights, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.