Some working environments are naturally more dangerous than others. Construction, farming, and manufacture are considered to be particularly high-risk industries as they involve operating heavy machinery, performing tasks at a great height, and unpredictable elements such as falling objects. However, injuries can be incurred in any workplace: even working in an office environment carries the risk of slips, trips and falls, burns, and musculoskeletal disorders such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
While it is the nature of the environments themselves that define how a workplace ranks in terms of safety, human error is the main cause of industrial accidents. Discover more about the most common causes of industrial accidents and how you can safeguard against them.
The main reason that accidents occur at work is due to poor training. A lack of knowledge about potential dangers can lead to the mishandling of equipment such as chemicals and machines and long-term injury like muscular damage from not using the proper technique when lifting heavy weights.
It is vital that employees are made aware of the risks associated with their role and how to protect themselves against injury in order to minimise workplace accidents. Ensure that a thorough induction process is in place for all new employees and have regular refresher sessions with staff.
A lack of – or even no – Personal Protective Equipment is the cause of a high proportion of industrial accidents. PPE protects the body against hazardous elements like asbestos and potential physical injury from handling chemicals, machines, and tools. PPE often includes face masks, gloves, high-vis vests, and sturdy boots.
Employees who are not provided with this essential safety equipment would be in a good position to make a claim about a workplace injury because it is arguable that the accident could have been avoided had they been wearing the correct PPE.
While training and poor PPE are both primarily the responsibility of the employer, the action of employees can also cause common industrial accidents. Lazy storage is one such action: this could include leaving objects lying around, not tidying away equipment, or failing to keep hazardous materials locked away.
Unsafe storage might seem like a minor risk, but it is one of the main reasons behind accidents that occur at work. For example, objects left where people walk can easily lead to sprains and even broken bones. In fact, in the UK alone, slips, trips and falls were responsible for 30% of non-fatal workplace injuries in 2022.
Dangers are always going to be present in a working environment, and there is little that you can do to change that. However, you can ensure that these hazards are clearly identified and do as much as you can to safeguard workers against them.