There's a lot of focus on health and safety at work these days, so you may feel that your employer has everything covered when it comes to having proper safety procedures and training in place.

However, statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) still suggest UK employers have a long way to go before they are fully compliant.

According to their data, a total of 133 people were killed at work in the UK in 2013-14 - and there were approximately 78,000 reported injuries caused by workplace accidents.

Similar figures from HSE for the period covering 2011-12 showed that there were a total of 1.1 million UK workers suffering from a work-related illness - which resulted in an estimated cost to society of £13.8 billion!

It seems clear, then, that despite the increased focus around health and safety in recent years, there is still much more to do to ensure all employees in the UK are safe at their workplace.

Common causes of workplace injuries

The most common causes of injuries sustained following accidents in UK workplaces are:

    • Handling heavy loads
    • Slips and trips
    • Falls from a great height

Typically, jobs in industries such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing and transport have the highest incidence of accidents and injuries. According to the HSE, men are more likely than women to suffer an injury, and new or inexperienced workers are also at a greater risk.

How to improve workplace safety

If you would like to learn more about health and safety at work, read our full health and safety at work guide here.

In short, both employers and employees have a duty of care and responsibilities when it comes to operating and maintaining a safe workplace. These include:

    • Providing adequate training on all machinery
    • Keeping the working environment clean and hygienic
    • Making sure all equipment and machinery is well maintained
    • Ensure emergency procedures are in place, and that all staff and visitors are aware of what to do in an emergency
    • Protective clothing, wherever necessary, should be provided to all relevant staff

Learn more here about how to report an accident at work.

Benefits of a safe working environment

As well as the necessity of keeping employees and visitors safe, and avoiding costly compensation claims, there are many other benefits to maintaining a safe working environment, including:

    • Reduced staff absence
    • Reduced staff turnover
    • Improved reputation of the employer

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