You’re a busy working mother and entrepreneur, with never enough hours in the day. You struggle to fit in enough time with your family and enough time at the office, but couldn’t imagine life any other way. Does this sound like you? If so, you might have found that the issue of workplace safety hasn’t made it to the top of your to-do list, with so many other items to think about.
However, any business owner who has people working for them needs to be aware of their duties and responsibilities when it comes to keeping personnel safe on the job. It’s also important that you stay out of harm’s way yourself, to ensure you don’t have to take unexpected time off from work.
From understanding the most common risks to staff members and how to avoid them, to what might happen if an employee is hurt and submits a personal injury compensation claim with a “no win, no fee” lawyer or other firm, there are many aspects of workplace safety to consider.
If you need to brush up on your knowledge about potential hazards in the office, on the road, and in the warehouse, read on for the major things you should know about workplace safety today.
Common Risks and Injuries
According to 2013/2014 statistics released by the HSE (the country’s Health and Safety Executive body), 1.2 million working people suffered from a work-related illness in the U.K. over the twelve month period. While Great Britain has one of the better safety rates in the region, this is still no small number, and shows that workers face a variety of risks in the workplace.
When it comes to the most common on-the-job injuries or illnesses, falls, slips and trips are way up the top of the list. Many accidents result from employees lifting heavy items or completing manual handling tasks. In particular, staff members regularly experience head injuries, or problems with their neck or back, from these types of jobs.
Strains, sprains, or breaks of ankles, wrists, arms and other parts of the anatomy are also a common occurrence. Similarly, there are many workers each year that are hurt by a falling object, whether that may be a box, a piece of equipment, or even larger, heavier items such as vehicles.
To keep both yourself and your team safe on the job, it’s important to understand how to avoid common injuries like these. To start with, correct posture and proper lifting techniques must be adhered to at all times to avoid injuries incurred from carrying or lifting heavy loads.
Mechanical aids and other equipment such as forklifts or wheelbarrows should be enlisted to move any weighty items, or alternatively, staff members should seek assistance from other personnel before trying to relocate an item by themselves.
As well, workers need to be aware that handling objects in awkward or cramped positions can cause them harm, whether they are pushing, pulling, holding or restraining items. Working environments, from offices to factories and warehouses, also need to be kept clean and clear of hazards. Employees should be trained to scan areas where they’re working or about to walk for potential risk factors, such as slippery floors or objects which have been moved from their normal position.
The Responsibilities of Employers
If an employee suffers an illness, disease or injury that’s caused in the workplace and not their fault, they have a right to make a personal injury claim for compensation. To do so though, they typically have to prove that their sickness or injury was caused as a direct result of negligence on the part of the business, and/or as a result of completing their work.
Employers have the legal responsibility to protect their staff from any potential health and safety hazards, including toxic chemicals, slippery surfaces, falling items, unsafe equipment and any other hazardous environment.
As a business owner, you must ensure that the workplace and all tools and equipment used in or for duties are assessed for potential risks. Any items that could cause a hazard must be replaced, repaired or removed immediately.
Company vehicles, tools and machinery should be kept maintained and up to date; any wiring and other electrical items need to be inspected on a regular basis; and all workspaces must be kept tidy, clean, and free from potential hazards such as falling items or rickety ladders. All businesses should also have first-aid kits on the premises.
If any workers need time off after a workplace incident or illness, it is an employer’s duty to pay them sick leave. Business owners must also keep records of any injuries, as well as report any diseases, accidents or dangerous incidents (e.g. release of toxins, or a scaffolding collapse) that occur on the job. Information needs to be sent to the Health and Safety department of a local authority for examination.
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