25 August 2023

Accidents at work: Guide to keeping employees safe

Steve Hennegan Partner & Head of Personal Injury

As an employer, it is your responsibility to prioritise the health and safety of your employees. 

Failing to do so not only puts your workforce at risk but can result in severe injuries and potential legal consequences as well as the obvious impact upon productivity in your business from a member of staff being off injured, the cost of sick pay and the involvement of your HR and occupational health teams.

Ensuring employee safety at work

In this guide, we explore the steps you can take to ensure employee safety in the workplace. 

Regular risk assessments

According to the British Safety Council, risk assessments are the primary management tool in effective risk management and ensuring the health and safety of employees.

Not only that, but they’re also a legal requirement for employers. It’s vitally important then, that risk assessments are conducted regularly. 

You’ll need to keep up to date and adapt your risk assessments to any changes in the law. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also perform separate assessments for each job role to address specific risks.

The Health and Safety Executive website provides a comprehensive guide and advice on this and most if not all types of work.

Health and safety training

Providing comprehensive health and safety training can contribute towards helping keep your employees safe in the workplace.  

All of which  helps your business to avoid the potential distress, legal consequences, and financial costs that accidents in the workplace can cause.

Regularly updating and reinforcing this training by way of toolbox talks and similar will help to maintain a safety-conscious work environment.

Equipment, safety wear, and PPE

Equipping employees with the appropriate tools and protective equipment also helps to ensure safety and reduce the risk of workplace injuries. 

You should regularly maintain equipment and conduct inspections to ensure safety standards are met. Safety equipment such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) tailored to specific job requirements need to be provided. 

Highlight potential hazards 

Clearly displaying signs and warnings throughout the workplace helps to keep health and safety at the forefront of employees’ minds. 

Compliance with legal requirements, including displaying the official health and safety poster, ensures that essential safety information is accessible to all employees.

Regularly reviewing signage and updating it can also help to keep the messaging fresh and ensure employees don’t become blind to the warnings. 

Encourage breaks and rest

Encouraging regular breaks and rest periods is another strategy for maintaining employee wellbeing. 

Rests reduce fatigue, improve concentration, and therefore help prevent accidents. Prioritising breaks also promotes a more productive, engaged and happy workforce.

Create a safety culture 

So far, we’ve looked at practical steps you can take to implement health and safety measures. But perhaps one overarching aim for your business should be to develop a strong safety culture to embed health and wellbeing into your employees’ daily mindsets.

To do this, establish a clear and accessible health and safety policy and consider forming a safety committee to actively involve employees in decision making processes. 

Effective communication and regular updates on health and safety matters helps to build trust and encourage employees to raise concerns or report hazards. Rewarding and recognising employees who prioritise safety can also help create a positive work environment that values a safety-first mentality.

By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can enhance employee safety, reduce workplace accidents, and create a culture that prioritises the wellbeing of your workforce. 

At Wilkin Chapman, our specialist employment team is here to support you with expert advice and assistance on ensuring employee safety every step of the way. Contact us to find out more.

Making an accident at work claim

Despite the best efforts of employers, sometimes things go wrong and accidents happen. If an employee is unfortunate enough to have an accident or suffer an injury in the workplace, they may be eligible for financial compensation. 

Our highly skilled local team of trusted personal injury solicitors has an outstanding track record and will guide claimants through the process step by step.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis so if a claimants case is unsuccessful, they will not have to pay any fees. Contact us to find out more.

Need help?

Contact Steve to discuss this further.

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