ACCIDENTS IN THE WORKPLACE * CAUSES

ACCIDENTS IN THE WORKPLACE * CAUSES

Top 10 Causes of Accidents in the Workplace and How To Prevent

A workplace accident * can be described as an occurrence during work / in the workplace that leads to injury. A workplace accident claim * is made when an employee can prove that the accident in question was a direct result of negligence at the hands of employers/employees.

Of course, accidents at work * can happen in a multitude of scenarios, to anyone and at any time, so it is important to always be vigilant of hazards and follow safety procedures correctly to avoid any accidents taking place.

Common Workplace Accidents *

1. Slip, Trip and fall *

Slip, trips and falls * are one of the most common causes of personal injuries * sustained in the workplace. Wherever your work setting is –whether that is a shop, a factory or an office, you’re likely to encounter a slippery, uneven or hazardous surface at some stage.  These accidents are completely avoidable where the correct safety measures are in place and your employer may be found liable if it is shown that they were negligent in ensuring a safe working environment for their employees.

Most common reason for falls in the workplace

  • Slips – Spills, weather hazards, oily surfaces, surfaces or flooring that is lose or that as inadequate traction are common factors that influence a person slipping the workplace.
  • Trips –  Inadequate lighting, obstructions, uneven flooring, broken handrails on stairwells, loose/exposed wiring and other materials can all be factors that influence a person tripping in the workplace, thus resulting in personal injury being sustained *.

Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls at Work

Good housekeeping, quality surfaces and footwear are key factors that prevent accidents in the workplace from occurring *.  Employees should be reminded to engage in safe practice and procedure in the workplace by employers. Hazardous variables such as clutter or spillage must be reported to prevent a slip, trip and fall accidents * in the workplace.

2. Manual Handling – Moving Heavy Objects/Materials *

Manual handling is another common workplace accident claim *. It comes as no surprise that back, neck and shoulder injuries are common for those who must lift objects as part of their daily tasks at work. What people don’t know is that these injuries can just as easily be as easily sustained by pushing and pulling heavy objects also. The most common reasons for manual handling injuries are work are:

  • Employees not provided with manual handling training
  • Employees expected to lift or handle unsafe loads at work (too heavy, too large, unstable, awkward to grasp and likely to shift as its being moved)
  • Awkward to lift – only achieved by twisting of the body
  • Confined workspaces – no enough room to lift, uneven floor, slippery floor, ceiling not high enough, temperature or humidity is not suitable
  • Inadequate equipment for lifting or moving a heavy object
  • Insufficient rest periods – over-frequent lifting
  • The employee is physically unable to move an object

Avoiding Manual Handling Injuries at Work *

An employer is obliged to provide the following to their employees who work in these manual environments. If it is proven that they have not provided the correct safety measure or equipment, then they may be held liable for your injuries. An employer must do the following to avoid manual handling injuries *:

  • At the outset, carry out a full risk assessment of existing manual handling practices and then decide on what current manual handling procedures can be avoided.
  • Take appropriate organisational measures or use appropriate means, mechanical equipment, to avoid the need for manual handling of heavy loads by employees.
  • The distance at which an employee must move a heavy object must also be analysed and reduced where possible
  • Physical capabilities of the employees should be considered
  • Where the employer cannot avoid certain practices, mechanical equipment should be introduced.
  • Provide manual handling training to all employees
  • Provide adequate equipment needed to move heavy objects, for example, pallet trucks
  • Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves

According to the HSA, the weight of a load is very important and the frequency of how many times per minute an employee must carry or move a load or object should also be considered and:

  • Where the task is repeated one or twice per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 30%
  • Where the task is repeated five to eight times per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 50%
  • Where the task is repeated more than 12 times per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 80%

Room temperature is also a factor to consider to avoid injuries:

  • For Sedentary mental work – recommended room temperature is 21 Degrees Celsius
  • For Sedentary light manual work – 19 Degrees Celsius
  • For Standing light manual work – 18 Degrees Celsius
  • For Standing heavy manual work – 17 Degrees Celsius

3. Being Hit by Falling Objects *

In all environments, whether it be a warehouse, construction zone or in an office, injury from falling objects can happen. Falling objects can cause injuries such as cuts and head and brain injuries in severe cases. Common causes of falling object injuries are:

  • Files, books, stationery and other office tools and equipment falling from a shelf
  • Wall and ceiling fixtures become detached and falling
  • Tools and other construction materials and debris falling from a height on a building site
  • Unsecured loads lifted to a height and falling
  • Collapsing shelves that haven’t been properly maintained

Avoiding Falling Object Injuries at Work *

In cases where there are no systems of policies in place for storage of certain items and one falls and injures an employee, the employer may be held liable for the injuries. There are several ways that an employer can avoid these injuries at work *:

  • Equipment should be stored at appropriate heights so that if it moves it won’t fall on an employee
  • In construction zones, using closed boarded platforms or kick boards to prevent objects from falling off the edge of scaffolding, for example
  • Make employees aware of danger zones and how to store items properly to prevent future injuries

4. Injuries Caused By Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) *

Accidents in the workplace *  tend to happen when employers fail to provide appropriate protective equipment (PPE) for workers. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to prove adequate PPE to those who need them. Some common PPE in use to prevent injury are;

  • Gloves
  • Steel toe capped boots
  • Protective overalls
  • High-vis jackets
  • Hard Hats
  • Safety Harness
  • Protective masks
  • Eye protection goggles
  • Ear protection mufflers

In cases where an employer failed to provide adequate PPE, this is seen as a breach in their duty of care and when this happens, injuries occur. Some common examples of inadequate equipment are:

  • Eye goggles that slip off
  • Safety boots that don’t fit or are not suitable for the work environment
  • Hard hats that don’t fit correctly
  • Gloves that don’t fit or are worn or have holes in them
  • Protective masks that are worn or have holes in them

Avoiding Injuries caused by inadequate PPE *

Section 8 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 tell us that employers must:

  • Ensure all PPE is maintained in good working order, have adequate storage and that repairs, maintenance and replacements are carried out as needed
  • Ensure that PPC is adequate for the job at hand
  • Review the use of PPE periodically
  • Ensure that PPE is used only for its intended purpose
  • Ensure is employee must wear more than one form of PPE that all PPEs are compatible
  • Inform employees of risks
  • Provide instruction to employees on how to use the PPE
  • Arrange for training where necessary to employees

5. Falling from a Height *

Falling from a height, while more common in a construction or manual work environment, as also common other environments such as office, retails etc. Falling from a height usually means that a person was either

  • working on a ladder,
  • a roof,
  • using a step ladder to reach a high place,
  • working on a fragile surface,
  • falling from a high vehicle.

Common examples of causes of falls from heights in work are:

  • Falling from scaffolding on a building site
  • Using a step ladder when it is not appropriate to do so
  • Overreaching and losing balance when on a ladder
  • Not ensuring the ladder is properly footed

Avoiding falls from heights at work *

To avoid injury at work and falling from a height the following may be followed:

  • Do as much work from the ground – if you think it is too high to reach, it usually is!
  • Employers should ensure that employees can easily and safely reach high items
  • Employers must ensure that the equipment used for the job is strong and well maintained
  • Do not overreach, this is how you lose your balance
  • Do not stand on the top step of a step ladder, it is the place where you are most likely to lose your balance
  • If working outside, take note of the weather and if it is suitable for you to work outside at a height.

6. Walking into Objects *

Walking into objects is a common occurrence. One may become distracted and simply walk into an object of which you didn’t expect to be there, either because you were distracted by another task or the object was not supposed to be there and obstructed your walkway.

Avoiding Injuries sustained by walking into Objects *

Many accidents in work * from people walking into objects can be avoided by employers reminding their employees to be vigilant when walking through the workplace and by marking out any hazardous objects of which employees are more likely to walk into.  If it is a case where an employer has not provided adequate storage measures and object are left lying around the onus may be on the employer to ensure appropriate safety measures to avoid a hazardous working environment for their employees.

7. Burn Injuries *

Burn injuries in the workplace * can be caused by fire and explosions due to faulty wiring, for example, but also from contact with corrosive materials, electrical burns and chemical burns. Common causes of burn injuries in the workplace * are:

  • Electrical burns from contact with electrical currents caused by defective tools or faulty electrical equipment
  • Contact with overheated machinery or tools
  • Chemical burns from contact with corrosive materials, acids or oils
  • Contact with direct heat sources such as welding.
  • Fire burns from a fire started within the building or by faulty wiring.

Avoiding Burn Injuries at work *

To prevent fires and explosions from occurring in the workplace employers should:

  • Provide protective clothing to those working with flammable or corrosive chemicals
  • Provide training to employees that work with dangerous chemical or combustible materials
  • Ensure adequate warning signs on containers
  • First aid box in proximity to these dangerous work practices
  • Make sure all fire-starting hazards are eliminated in the workplace environment. Where they have failed to do so, they may be held liable for the injuries.
  • Ensure correct safety and fire drill procedures are thought to all employees in case of an event of a fire or explosion in the workplace occurring.
  • Every workplace should have a clearly communicated evacuation plan and an effective alert system in place to inform every one of what to do in hazardous and emergency situations.

8. Repetitive Strain Injuries *

Reparative strain injury (RSI) is the term given to the disorder which causes discomfort and/or pain in muscles, tendon and nerves and is caused by repetitive motion or overuse. It is generally a condition that affects the upper body (hands, wrists, fingers, elbows, neck, shoulders). It can happen to manual workers such as those is a warehouse or on an assembly line but can also happen to those who work in front of a computer continuously. Common causes are:

  • Overuse
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Inadequate break times during the day
  • Poor posture
  • Badly designed office chairs and keyboards
  • Repeated use of vibrating tools
  • Heavy lifting

Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injuries at Work *

All employers have a duty of care towards their employees to ensure their health and safety in the workplace. There are certain things an employer should do to minimise the risk of RSI for their employees:

  • Carry out regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards for those carrying out repetitive tasks
  • Provide the correct equipment needed by employees, such as ergonomic keyboards and chairs
  • Provide adequate training to employees
  • Allow employees to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks

9. Vehicle Crashes and Collisions *

These type of workplace accidents * may involve cars, lorries or even other vehicles such as forklift trucks. These accidents include:

  • being struck by a moving vehicle,
  • being struck by falling objects from a vehicle,
  • falling from a vehicle or getting stuck or crushed by overturned vehicles.

There are two distinct kinds of vehicle-related accidents.

  • On the Road – Workers can be injured due to a vehicle-related accident while working on the roads or in traffic zones.
  • In the Workplace – Operators of vehicles and equipment can be injured or cause injury to fellow employees.

Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injuries at Work *

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that all safety variables in relation to vehicles in the workplace are checked and maintained regularly. Employees should be made aware of the correct procedures in using and working around vehicles in the workplace. Any employee using a vehicle in the workplace must be adequately trained and licensed to ensure workplace safety is maintained.

10. Dangerous Machinery Accidents *

Most factories, warehouses and industrial environments use dangerous machinery daily. Common causes of accidents involving dangerous machinery are:

  • Eye injuries caused by dislodged parts or debris from machinery
  • Machine entanglement and crush injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations from coming in contact with sharp tools or parts of machinery
  • Lack of training of employees
  • Faulty or inadequate personal protective equipment
  • Faulty machinery or poorly maintained machinery

Avoiding Dangerous Machinery Accidents at Work *

Prevention of machinery accidents at work should be one of the top priorities of employers whose employees use dangerous machinery daily. The HSA recommends that employers should:

  • Fit suitable guards to machinery and equipment
  • Provide adequate support for machinery that is elevated off the ground
  • Ensure tools and well maintained
  • Ensure all moving parts are stopped before attempting to move any dangerous machinery
  • Machines designed for one person never take additional passengers
  • Ensure adequate personal protective equipment for all employees using the equipment.
  • Provide training to all employees who are intended to use the equipment

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

Tracey Solicitors draws on over 30 years of experience in workplace accidents *. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the above in any more detail feel free to call our team on 01 6499900 or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case and we call you back.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

contact no win no fee solicitors

016499900

or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case and we can call you back

TELL US ABOUR YOUR CASE

Workplace Accident Claims * – Useful Information

 

What is a Workplace Accident Claim *?

In scenarios where a person is involved in an accident while at work or during the course of their work * that was not their fault and sustains an injury as a result of that accident, they may be entitled to pursue an accident at work claim *.

There are many different scenarios that could lead to a claim, most common of which are:

Each scenario and case will be different, therefore, it is important that you contact a workplace accident solicitor * as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your case.

How do I start a claim for an accident at work *?

The first step in making a claim, after you have spoken with a solicitor, is to submit an application to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim. You will be required to complete an Injuries Board Form A in order to start the claims process.  Your solicitor can gather the relevant documents needed (medical reports, etc.,) do this on your behalf.

My claim has been submitted to the Injuries Board, what happens next?

Once the Injuries Board have received your application they have a period of 9 months in which to assess your claim. Once assessed, the Injuries Board will revert back to you and the person at fault with a suggested compensation amount to be paid to you. At this stage, one of two scenarios will come to pass:

  1. If both parties agree on the settlement amount, the Injuries Board will issue an order to Pay and the compensation amount will be paid to you.
  2. If either party disagree on the compensation amount then your case moves to the next stage – you have 6 months to issue court proceedings.
How is compensation calculated?

A compensation amount is calculated by taking into account the following aspects:

  • Loss of wages, if absent from work due to injury
  • Future loss of earnings, if absent from work for a long period of time
  • Medical expenses resulting from the injury
  • Future medical expenses resulting from the injury
  • Out of pocket expenses

In order to calculate compensation for you, the Injuries Board will refer to the Book of Quantum. The Book of Quantum shows value ranges of compensation amounts that have been awarded to people for injuries to specific parts of their bodies. Each of the average compensation amounts found in the book is taken from real personal injury cases * (over 51,000 in total) from the years 2014-2015.

“Very efficient. I was always kept updated, treated respectfully & I was impressed with how quickly calls/e-mails were returned.”

Personal Injury Client *

Client Story – Sarah, Accident At Work *

Incident: Sarah injured herself in work * while she was using a hand pallet truck that moves stock.  The pallet was brought in by a supplier which was stocked in the workplace. The pallet was jammed against a wall and when she went to pull it out with a pallet truck, the pallet truck slid out from under the pallet and fell backwards with her onto the ground. After falling, Sarah continued to work and finished her shift one hour later. She injured the left side of her chest, her left arm, her shoulder and her lower back. She returned home but could not get out of bed the next morning as she had injured all her left side. She needed physiotherapy on over 20 occasions due to the accident * and had also problems with day to day activities especially sleeping.

Case Progression: The Personal Injuries Assessment Board decided that it would not be appropriate to make an assessment because of the complexity off certain issues. Proceedings were issued on the 15/03/12.

Settlement: The case was settled in the High Court on the 12/03/2013. Sarah’s workplace has a duty of care towards their employees and the accident was not Sarah’s fault as the work conditions were not safe and negligence was proven.

Client Story – Sarah, Accident At Work *

Incident: Sarah injured herself in work * while she was using a hand pallet truck that moves stock.  The pallet was brought in by a supplier which was stocked in the workplace. The pallet was jammed against a wall and when she went to pull it out with a pallet truck, the pallet truck slid out from under the pallet and fell backwards with her onto the ground. After falling, Sarah continued to work and finished her shift one hour later. She injured the left side of her chest, her left arm, her shoulder and her lower back. She returned home but could not get out of bed the next morning as she had injured all her left side. She needed physiotherapy on over 20 occasions due to the accident * and had also problems with day to day activities especially sleeping.

Case Progression: The Personal Injuries Assessment Board decided that it would not be appropriate to make an assessment because of the complexity off certain issues. Proceedings were issued on the 15/03/12.

Settlement: The case was settled in the High Court on the 12/03/2013. Sarah’s workplace has a duty of care towards their employees and the accident was not Sarah’s fault as the work conditions were not safe and negligence was proven.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am worried about claiming against my employer, what should I do?

Before bringing a claim forward, employees must not worry about their position within their place of work. You will not lose your job upon taking legal action against your employees as the job security legislation protects employees against dismissal if a claim is brought forward after a workplace injury *…

READ MORE

What do I need to make a workplace accident claim *?

Workplace accident claims * are made when a person proves that their injury at work * was caused by the negligence of their employer to provide a safe working environment. To start your claim, speak with a workplace accident solicitor *, they will help you obtain all the information you need to get started…

READ MORE

Will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of personal injury claims * are settled before stepping foot into a courtroom. Only a small percentage of claims each year go to court for a Judge to decide on the outcome of the case…

READ MORE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am worried about claiming against my employer, what should I do?

Before bringing a claim forward, employees must not worry about their position within their place of work. You will not lose your job upon taking legal action against your employees as the job security legislation protects employees against dismissal if a claim is brought forward after a workplace injury *…

READ MORE

What do I need to make a workplace accident claim *?

Workplace accident claims * are made when a person proves that their injury at work * was caused by the negligence of their employer to provide a safe working environment. To start your claim, speak with a workplace accident solicitor *, they will help you obtain all the information you need to get started…

READ MORE

Will I have to go to court?

Will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of personal injury claims * are settled before stepping foot into a courtroom. Only a small percentage of claims each year go to court for a Judge to decide on the outcome of the case…

READ MORE



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