Workplace accidents should be prevented
Workplace accidents are avoidable, which means accidents at work should not happen. Compensation can be claimed for the consequences of a workplace accident.
The workplace must be risk assessed to avoid accidents and injury at work. If a proper assessment is carried, out why do accidents still happen?
We want to look at the reasons why health and safety in the workplace is seen as a nuisance rather than a positive force.
The consequences of a workplace accident are usually serious, for the injured worker and also for the employer. Employers and companies often complain about the heavy burden of health and safety, but the human and financial consequences of a workplace accident and a workplace accident claim are serious too.
The consequences of a workplace accident for the employer are:
- An employee injured at work will be off work.
- Sick pay will be paid.
- Investigation into the accident will be necessary.
- Report to the Health and Safety Executive under the RIDDOR – The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
- Report to and investigation by employer’s liability insurance company.
- Administration for payment and absence.
- Management time to ensure workplace continues efficiently in absence of the injured employee.
If you look at the consequences of a personal injury at work, why on earth would an employer complain about the need to keep its employees safe in the workplace?
One answer is the way in which companies have been advised by health and safety consultants. The current law demands that an employer carry out a risk assessment of the workplace and its processes. That is a good and positive thing to do, but much of the advice offered has led to unnecessary complication and expense.
Too much time and emphasis is placed on evidencing that a risk assessment has been undertaken, rather than actually looking at the workplace and the processes. Companies have been sold software packages that produce long lists of processes, the likely risks and steps necessary to protect employees from personal injury at work. The trouble is these assessments are prepared on computers, involve ticking boxes and mean the person undertaking the risk assessment is sitting on a chair in an office rather than being out in the workplace.
Companies and employers have been terrorised by fear of criminal, and sometimes individual, prosecution. They have been led down the road of protecting themselves with paperwork.
Some systems, if used correctly, can be helpful, as long as they remember to engage with reality. The people who know the risks are those on the shop floor, the machine operators, the forklift truck drivers, the team leaders and foremen and those who represent the workforce. A much better risk assessment would be achieved by looking at the history of accidents at the workplace and near misses, then engaging with all involved to bring about a safer workplace.
Workplace accidents produce workplace accident claims for compensation, but the aim must be to produce a safe place of work in the first place.