In every industry, accidents at work are inevitable and can seriously harm both the individual involved and the business. The most common accidents at work are often the easiest to avoid, by removing the cause and taking steps towards a safer workplace. The most likely accidents to occur are due to slips and trips, falls from height, falling objects and forklift accidents. Some safety procedures include writing a safety handbook for staff, understanding health and safety legislation and providing first aid kits.
1. Slips and Trips
Slips and trips are very common accidents at work and can cause debilitating or disabling injuries. They occur most frequently in factories and warehouses when liquid spills, sawdust, boxes or pallets are present in walkways. Accidents at work involving slips and trips are easy to avoid by keeping walkways clean and clear of obstructions that cause trip hazards. Always store pallets and boxes correctly in marked areas or in shelves.
2. Falls From Height
To avoid falls from heights, all employees working at height should be trained in the proper use of ladders and safety equipment. Guard rails should be used on all elevated walkways and only safe shelving systems should be used.
3. Falling Objects
Heavy falling objects can cause serious injury or even death. When stacking multiple pallets, it is important to start with the largest and heaviest pallets at the bottom. When racking pallets, it is also necessary to leave a gap between pallets to avoid collapse when accessed by a lift truck. You should always follow correct procedures for shelving units to avoid falls.
4. Forklift Accidents
Forklift accidents can occur in factories and warehouses for genuine reasons such as novice drivers making a mistake, or a more experienced driver being careless. In either situation, the outcome can be an injury for the driver or another worker. Only trained forklift drivers should be operating lift trucks in the workplace. Factories and warehouses should use marked roadways to keep foot traffic and lift trucks separated.
1. Know the Law
Each of the following points refers to the documentation and legislation that governs the safety of all staff and visitors in the workplace.
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 1992
2. Safety Handbook
Consider writing a safety handbook for every member of staff to read. The handbook should contain relevant information such as, how to use tools and machines correctly, who is the closest first-aider in the workplace and what to do in the event of accidents at work.
3. Use Correct Tools for the Job
Using incorrect tooling for any job presents a significant chance of injury, whilst the severity of an injury varies with the type of job. It is essential that anyone completing a job has the correct tool at hand and follows the correct procedure for use.
4. Signage and Visual Aids
Clear signage should be provided by the employer around the factory or warehouse that indicates potential hazards, correct PPE for all hazardous areas and what action should be taken following an accident.
5. Floor Markings
Floor marking using coloured tape can be useful in keeping walkways clear, and to keep workers with the wrong PPE from entering an unsafe area unknowingly. Taped areas can also help production in busy factories by marking specific waiting areas for part queues.
Invest in First Aid at Work Training and First Aid Kits
Every workspace should have the minimum number of first-aiders present at any time. An employer should consider investing in training courses such as Emergency First-Aid at Work. Employers should also give first aid kits to first-aiders to keep at their workstations. Employers can buy further first aid kits to distribute around the workplace to ensure one is always to hand. When accidents at work inevitably occur it is essential to bring proper provisions in advance.