For the majority of us, a workplace is a place of concentration, productivity and safety. However, each year hundreds of thousands of work-related injuries take place within these places of work. When we think of workplace accidents, we think of injury or illness from jobs more associated with risk, like firefighters or construction work. However, injuries are common in all fields of work, from offices and call centres to laboratories.
Work-related injuries can range from bruises and sprains to lacerations and burns. Although these injuries are generally not life-threatening, they can lead to days or weeks of time off and costly compensation claims. Found as part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, the data comes from the 2019/20 RIDDOR and Labour Force Survey.
In this article, we look at the top 5 most common workplace compensation claims and how to prevent these types of injuries from occurring in the future.
1. Strains and Sprains
The most common workplace injuries are strains and sprains. These painful injuries are typically caused by putting too much stress on specific muscles or ligaments and lead to tears.
Back and neck strains are common and can be caused when lifting heavy objects. These injuries are not unusual in a range of workplaces but especially in manufacturing or transportation industries.
One of the less severe but most common strains is repetitive strain injury (RSI). These types of strains can occur when the worker carries out any repetitive motion and can be caused by excessive keyboard or mouse use. Although previously not always taken seriously by employers, there is now an understanding that the cumulative impact of RSI can be just as severe as other strains.
It is essential to deliver the required training to workers who may be susceptible to repetitive strain injury. Whether it is training on correct lifting techniques or reminding workers of the importance of regular breaks, these simple methods will go a long way to preventing costly claims.
2. Superficial Wounds
Superficial wounds, which generally refer to minor cuts, abrasions and bruising, are the most common workplace injuries. Although these injuries are less likely to result in time off for the worker, they are still the reason for many compensation claims.
These forms of injuries tend to occur in a wide range of workplaces and usually happen when the correct health and safety measures have not been adhered to or put in place. Therefore, it is vital to implement the proper safety procedures and continued training to prevent future superficial wound injuries.
Fractures also made it onto the list of the top 5 workplace injuries — not a surprise as most of us have suffered a fracture or break at some point..
Broken or fractured bones can keep workers seeking compensation from returning to their jobs, and they can take months to heal fully.
Fractures or breaks can occur within any office or workplace. They are usually the result of accidents such as falling objects and equipment malfunctions, although the most common causes are falls and trips, which account for 29% of all workplace injuries.
Although fractures are relatively frequent in certain lines of work, it is essential to maintain up-to-date health and safety procedures and perform regular checks to ensure that each member of staff is adhering to the current safety standards.
4. Lacerations and Open Wounds
Although lacerations and superficial wounds could be considered the same thing, lacerations are generally deeper open wounds that have broken the layer of skin and the tissue or muscle below. Lacerations will usually require stitches and keep workers off sick for weeks or months if the wound becomes infected.
Construction and manufacturing are specific industries where lacerations and open wounds occur, although they are also often reported after work-related traffic accidents. These types of injuries generally occur in jobs and industries that require the usage of machines and tools.
It is vital to ensure that workers are properly trained in the usage of potentially dangerous machinery and that it’s operating correctly, to prevent laceration and open wound compensation claims. Safety equipment is also essential as a line of defence against these forms of injuries.
Lastly, burns remain a widespread workplace injury. From heat and electrical to chemical — burns remain a common injury compensation claim in various industries. Not only can burns keep employees off work for months, but they can also cause life-long impairment and scarring.
The inexperience of workers, lack of training or failure to enforce safety procedures may contribute to workplace burn injuries. Improved employee training and supervision are most likely the most effective ways to prevent future burn-related injuries in the workplace.
It is important to remember that accidents can occur at any time, but you can prevent work-related injuries with various strategies. When workplace accidents or injuries occur and are not the fault of the worker, claims management companies ensure that employees are fairly compensated.
With increased training, improved health and safety procedures and greater importance on worker wellbeing, the number of such cases will reduce, and you can continue to feel safe in your workplace.