Common workplace accidents and key tips for prevention

Image shows a man lying on his back working on the underside of the car. It's an anxiety-inducing image

Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, from the stubbing of one’s toe to the potential suffering of a road traffic incident

Workplace accidents, though, present a unique degree of risk to the working population of the UK. As an employee, there is little you can do personally to reduce the institutional likelihood of a workplace accident. However, there are some key things you can be aware of to reduce your likelihood of suffering such an accident. Or at least to ensure you receive everything you’re entitled to in the event of an accident. With this in mind, what are some of the most common workplace accidents. And what should you bear in mind for each?

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls easily describe the vast majority of injuries, both in and out of work. They have many potential causes. And each of these might be dependent on your industry, work location and health and safety protocols. Outdoor workers, for example, might slip on ice in the winter in the event of ungritted surfaces. In industrial or construction environments, the leaving of tools and equipment on the floor could invite a trip injury.

While many slips, trips and falls are relatively benign, there is still a huge amount of risk associated with them; broken bones can result, even though the distance to ground isn’t altogether great – and this is to say nothing of the risk of head or brain injury. A personal injury claim calculator can illustrate the relative compensation value for each of these injuries, giving you an idea of what you might expect in recompense should such a fall not be your fault. On a day-to-day basis, vigilance is your best friend for staying safe.

Falls from height

Falls from height are less common across industries, but more common in construction – and much more fatal, to boot. The heightened risk of critical injury associated with falls from height makes it a key consideration for workers and for companies alike.

Any business expecting you to work at height should be providing you with adequate PPE to ensure your safety at height, while walkways should always be fitted with guardrails to prevent slipping. It is your right as a worker to refuse to operate in unsafe conditions. So be sure to make your own assessment before proceeding.

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Heavy machinery

Heavy machinery presents serious risk to all that use it, even seasoned professionals. Around 9% of all workplace fatalities in 2022-23 were caused by contact with moving machinery, while moving objects and moving vehicles together accounted for nearly half. The agriculture industry is a prominent source of these fatalities, with farming equipment being prevalent and dangerous. Again, vigilance is key – as is a buddy system, wherein no worker works alone.