Over two million people in the UK suffer accidents at work every year, according to HSE statistics. A study by the Labour Force Survey showed that this includes around 300,000 injuries which are serious enough to be reported, representing a rate of one serious work accident per 100 workers.
What many people don’t realise is that serious work accidents can happen in an office, just as they can happen on a building site or in a factory, and that many of these accidents are easily preventable.
There are a number of hidden dangers that all employers and employees should look out for in the office environment to prevent accidents at work – here are some of the most important hidden dangers to be aware of:
Slips, trips and falls
Slipping and tripping accidents are a major source of office injuries. These types of injuries account for almost half of all major office accidents in the UK and about 30% of over-3-day injuries, according to HSC statistics. There are a number of different causes of slipping and tripping accidents.
Stairs and steps
Around a quarter of all office injuries involve stairs or steps. Employers should make sure that steps are made obvious using signs and coloured markings on the floor, and regularly check the safety and stability of stairways.
Lifting and carrying
Often, back injuries and slips and trips happen while people are lifting or carrying portable containers such as bottles or crates. Accidents such as these accounted for around 25% of office accidents, say HSC statistics.
Cables and other obstacles left on the office floor can lead to serious office injuries due to trips if there is not enough warning to workers and signposting of the area.
Wet floors in the office or icy floors in office courtyards without gritting can cause slips and trips if they are not adequately signposted or dealt with.
Repetitive strain injury
Poor ergonomic planning in the office can, over time, lead to workers suffering from repetitive strain injury. This kind of office injury is usually caused by PC usage/typing.
These usually happen because of faulty equipment and electronics and can lead to very nasty office injuries.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
If appliances such as gas boilers which burn fuel are broken or faulty, carbon monoxide (which would otherwise be disposed of safely) can leak and lead to the carbon monoxide poisoning of office workers.
Claiming compensation for office accidents
Employers have a duty of care to their employees to comply with safety regulations and to take practical steps to ensure a safe workplace. If an injury has occurred because of a failure of this duty, the employer will be liable for work accident compensation claims.
If you have suffered a preventable office accident which wasn’t your fault, you may be able to claim compensation for personal injury.
You cannot legally be fired for making a work accident claim against your employer, and they will have insurance to cover such claims, so the compensation will come from their insurance company.
Apart from gaining compensation for your injuries, making a compensation claim following an office injury can prevent the same kind of work accident from happening again.