Whilst injuries at work have substantially decreased over recent years, cases of accidents in the workplace are unfortunately still rife, with statistics showing that 171 workers were fatally injured at work in 2010/11. A whopping 603,000 workers were victims of accidents in the workplace in the same year; 200,000 of which led to an absence from work of three days or more.
Not to mention the physical and emotional damage that workplace injuries can cause to the victim, they’re inevitably hugely damaging to the employer; both from a financial and reputational point of view.
Simple steps can be taken in any work environment to help minimise the risk of accident, so we wanted to take a look at some of the costliest workplace injury claims ever made, to show just how damaging a lack of care can be.
Now, before you switch off, here’s a video of how some Chinese builders decided was a safe way to demolish a building; as a prime example of the lack of health and safety precautions we’re talking about…
Work place accidents can be costly!
It’s no joke that workplace accidents can end up damaging a business hugely, particularly from a financial point of view. To prove that I’m not exaggerating, here are 5 cases showing how costly workplace injury claims can be :
£100 Million: 5,000 Scottish miners with individual settlements of up to £50,000.
The government announced in 1999 that it would be compensating Scottish miners who had developed lung problems and diseases due to dust exposure. The miners were awarded different amounts decided by certain factors, including whether or not they smoked. This case resulted in a whopping £100 million being paid out in compensation.
£4.2 Million: Yorkshire demolition worker left brain damaged.
A lack of training and safety equipment resulted in the unfortunate event of a demolition worker suffering brain damage. The worker was altering machinery when a piece of metal sprung out causing the accident, which lawyers successfully argued could have been avoided.
£80,000: Scottish forest worker seeks settlement for Lyme disease tick.
The employee of the Forestry Commission believes that the organisation did not do enough to warn or protect staff from the infection. Apparently, the company knew of several precautions they could take to protect employees, but did not implement any. A prime example of how simple precautions could have kept employees at minimal risk of harm.
£250,000: Kidnapped British oil worker sues company for security breaches.
An oil worker was kidnapped by an armed gang from the company’s oil rig off the coast of Nigeria. Although the worker only suffered minor injuries, he suffered huge traumatic stress from the kidnap, something which he was able to seek a large amount of compensation for. According to the case reports, there were a variety of security breaches around the rig that could have helped minimise the risk of kidnap.
Six-figure sum: Worker suffers lead poisoning at Norfolk College
A former technician at Norwich City College sought compensation comprised of an undisclosed six-figure sum for lead poisoning, which he claims to have contracted whilst handling lead in the college’s heating and plumbing department. Allegedly , the college neglected to offer adequate protection against the dangers of working with lead, resulting in the man being exposed to toxic levels during his employment.
BUT, it’s not all bad news!
There are always measures that any company can take to ensure that its workforce is adequately protected against the risk of accident, no matter what sector or nature of work. A few simple steps can make the world of difference when it comes to employee safety, so we’ve divulged our top 5 simple tips to help make sure your workforce are safe, and injury claims are kept at bay…
1. Failing to plan is planning to fail: Make sure your employee knows in detail their tasks and instructions of how to complete their job correctly. Up-to-date training should be given to your workers, and this will help to protect yourself legally if, unfortunately, an accident does occur.
2. Don’t be too confident! Having confidence in the workplace is brilliant; however, over-confidence can be very dangerous. Ensure that all employees, however long they’ve been there, know the safety procedures inside-out; and don’t get too complacent. Safety procedures need going-over on a regular basis in order to minimise the risk of accident.
3. Too efficient: As deadline day draws closer, shortcuts are often taken and, as a result, an increase in injuries usually results. Work production will always have to increase at certain times of the year, but this should never result in less attention being put on safety measures. They should always remain a priority, no matter how busy you are.
4. Keep it tidy!: A tidy workplace is a happy workplace, and most definitely a safer one! It’s simple; the tidier you keep your workplace, the less accident hazards there are. Easy!
5. Let them focus: The fewer distractions there are in the workplace not only means a job is usually done at a better standard, but also in a safer manner. The fewer distractions there are, the more employees can focus at the task at hand; minimising the risk of accident.