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Home » News » Top Tips for Maximising Workplace Safety

Top Tips for Maximising Workplace Safety

With the World Day for Safety and Health at Work taking place on 28th April, in this blog we’re focusing on workplace safety and how you can reduce the risk of accidents both in your workplace and for employees who are on the move.

The latest health and safety statistics

In November 2023, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published its annual statistics on work related ill-health and workplace injuries in the UK for the 2022/23 period. There’s a lot to digest in this extensive document but the main figures speak volumes, as there were 1.8 million reported cases of work-related illness. To put these into perspective, here’s a breakdown of the types of illness and injury during that period:

  • 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
  • 473,000 cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorder.
  • 60,645 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR by employers.
  • 135 workers killed in work-related accidents.
  • 35.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £20.7 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions.

It’s important to bear in mind that work-related stress can be a serious issue, as stressed employees are more likely to experience lapses in concentration and their problem-solving skills can also be affected. This can then potentially lead to physical accidents that could otherwise have been avoided.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) reported the following figures for 2023:

  • The 55+ age group incurred the highest number of fatalities, with 22 fatalities in 2023 compared to 10 in 2022.
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing accounted for 20 fatalities, with farming accounting for 16 of these fatalities in 2023.
  • The construction sector accounted for the second highest fatalities reported in 2023, with 11 reported work-related fatalities.
  • The leading causes of work-related fatalities in 2023 were working with vehicles (13 fatalities) and falling from height (11 fatalities).
  • Of the 43 fatalities in 2023, 39 were male and 4 were female.
  • County Cork accounted for the highest records of fatalities in 2023 (7 fatalities), followed by County Dublin (5 fatalities) and County Kerry (5 fatalities).

The importance of workplace safety

Workplace safety is not merely a legal requirement but also a moral obligation for employers. The statistics above highlight the urgent need for robust safety measures in all workplace settings, especially sectors such as construction, logistics, transport, engineering, and industrial businesses where accidents are more likely. Beyond the tragic loss of life, workplace accidents can result in severe long-term injuries, financial losses, and damage to a company’s reputation.

Prioritising safety fosters a positive work culture, boosts employee morale and enhances productivity on a companywide level. Meanwhile, investing in safety training and PPE, implementing effective safety protocols, and providing open communication channels are all essential steps in creating a safe and healthy work environment.

Prevention strategies for common hazards in industrial workplaces

Industrial settings such as warehouses, factories, energy plants and logistics yards present various hazards that can endanger employees if not properly addressed. Some common hazards include:

Slips, trips, and falls: Uneven surfaces, wet floors and cluttered walkways contribute to the possibility of workers slipping, tripping, or falling from height. To prevent accidents, employers should maintain clean and tidy work areas, install non-slip flooring, and provide appropriate signage to warn employees of potential hazards.

Machinery accidents: Improper use of machinery and lack of training can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Companies must ensure that workers receive comprehensive training on equipment operation, as well as implement safety guards, lockout/tagout procedures and regular maintenance checks to prevent accidents.

Chemical exposure: Exposure to hazardous chemicals can result in respiratory problems, skin irritation and long-term health issues. Industrial businesses need to conduct thorough risk assessments, provide adequate ventilation, supply appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and establish strict handling and storage protocols for hazardous substances.

Manual handling: Lifting, carrying and moving heavy objects can lead to musculoskeletal injuries if performed incorrectly. All employees must be trained in proper lifting techniques, provided with fall arrest equipment where necessary, and given ergonomic workstations to minimise strain on the body.

Fire and electrical hazards: Poorly maintained electrical equipment, faulty wiring and flammable materials pose fire and electrical hazards. Employers should conduct regular inspections, install fire detection and suppression systems, and provide fire safety training and fire protection equipment to employees in order to mitigate risks.

Suitable PPE is absolutely critical

PPE plays a crucial role in safeguarding employees from workplace hazards. Whether it’s safety helmets, goggles, ear protection or hi-vis clothing, wearing suitable PPE can significantly reduce the risk of injury or illness.

According to recent studies, a large number of workplace injuries could have been prevented if employees had worn appropriate PPE. This demonstrates why employers must provide employees with the necessary protective equipment, ensure proper fitting and maintenance, and enforce compliance with PPE protocols. Additionally, every business should educate employees on the importance of wearing PPE and the specific hazards it protects against, as this will empower them to take responsibility for their own safety and that of their colleagues.

Ways to get involved in World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Businesses can get involved in World Day for Safety and Health at Work by organising events, activities and awareness campaigns that focus on promoting workplace safety and wellbeing. For instance, you could host refresher training sessions on safety protocols, provide resources on hazard identification and risk assessment, and start an open conversation about any safety concerns.

Some other suggestions are to conduct additional safety inspections, review and update safety policies and procedures, and recognise individual employees for their contributions to maintaining a safe work environment. Collaborating with industry associations, government agencies and health and safety organisations can also help your business to amplify its efforts and reach a broader audience.

Ultimately, by actively participating in World Day for Safety and Health at Work, your company can demonstrate its commitment to prioritising the health, safety and welfare of its employees.

Order your PPE and safety clothing from SafetyCare

Whatever kind of PPE and protective workwear you need to keep your employees safe, comfortable and happy in their roles, SafetyCare can supply it. Get in touch with our team of safety specialists today at sales@safetycare.ie or give us a call on 01 8499 100.

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