Accidents in the workplace are common. They can happen in the blink of an eye and unexpectedly. The Irish Health and Safety Authority estimate that every working day, around seven people are hurt in slips, trips or falls at the workplace. If you’re a tradesperson or you manage a site it’s crucial to take precaution to avoid any accidents. Accidents not only can cause serious harm and even fatality but they can also result in huge financial loss. You need to ensure that if you work in a sector where accidents are common that you have the appropriate measures in place. You also need to ensure that you have appropriate insurance cover. If you go into a client’s home and you injure someone on the site, you are liable! That’s why public liability insurance is so important.
Before we give you tips on how to prevent accidents in your workplace, here are some common causes of accidents.
There are multiple hazards in a workplace and we can appreciate that. While it might seem like a daunting task trying to rid your workplace of hazards, there are some primary issues that maximise risk.
Ensure that all spillages are cleaned up immediately. Invest in a ‘caution wet floor’ sign to allow your staff to know that a floor on site is wet. If you have trailing wires around a site, it’s best to ensure they are tied up where possible with cable ties. Loose wires can cause people to trip more frequently than you might think and it’s an easy accident to avoid.
Give regular checks to your workplace, check handrails, bannisters and minimise obstructions on flooring.
Fit the best lighting that you can get your hands on. When the lighting in a workplace or on site is bright, workers can see where they’re going and what they’re doing more easily. This means that they’re less likely to fall or drop something.
Simple steps like these aforementioned tips could significantly reduce the risk of an accident in your workplace.
Incorrect safety gear.
If your staff aren’t wearing the appropriate gear needed for the job they are doing, then an accident is likely to occur. If this accident occurs, you are also likely to be liable. As an employer it is your responsibility to ensure that all your staff are wearing the following (where appropriate):
- Steel toe cap boots
- High-vis jackets
- Eye protection
- Dust masks
- Hard hats
- Ear protection
- Safety harnesses
It is noteworthy to mention that it isn’t enough just to check that all your staff have their safety gear on. It is also imperative to do regular checks to ensure that the safety gear is in working order. If a harness for example has been through significant wear and tear, the likelihood of it failing is high. A faulty harness could result in a very serious accident. Check your safety equipment often and replace as needed.
We could not discuss this topic without mentioning one of the biggest causes for workplace accidents. Specialised machinery can be incredibly powerful. For many businesses heavy machinery is a standard requirement to get the job done. While machinery might be a necessity so too is adequate training. All staff on your site should have the appropriate training before operating any machinery.
You might need a cert to deal with certain types of machinery and all documents should be checked before you hand over the keys. Additionally, all drivers or operators should be wearing the appropriate safety gear and should be aware of all the risks before they begin doing their job.
How can you prevent accidents in the workplace?
By putting effective procedure in place, you can seriously reduce the risk of an accident. The HSA advises that managers should ensure that all floors are level and not jutting out in certain areas as this could induce a fall. For floors that are prone to slippiness due to the work at hand, anti-slip mats should be used. It is especially important to use anti slip-mats in areas with a drop, such as at the top of stairs or in heavily congested areas.
Effective use of PPE (personal protective equipment) is paramount on site also. The PPE should be frequently reviewed to make sure it is up to standard. This includes making sure that the equipment fits the member of staff properly. For example, hard hats that are ill-fitting may fall off and protective masks that are too loose may not be doing their job appropriately.
For staff that work in an office environment, the correct equipment should be supplied, particularly if the employee has any ongoing health issues, such as back problems or conditions which can affect the joints. As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all members of staff are comfortable and have everything they need. The situation should be monitored closely to ensure that nothing changes.
If you work in an environment where you are responsible for staff then it’s essential that you take measures to prevent risk. It is also vital that you invest in the cover you need in case an accident does happen.
You should ring an insurance broker and discuss public liability insurance and various other policies that might minimise financial risk.
At insuremyvan.ie we provide fleet insurance, van insurance, commercial insurance public liability insurance and more. Call us today so we can get you great cover at great price.